Wednesday night, I succumbed to my worries. A medium-sized panic attack occurred. This happens every once in awhile, especially when things get busy. School is starting on Monday...maybe that has something to do with it. I'm not proud, at all, of the fact I struggle with anxiety but I don't waste my time anymore on harsh self-analyzation. I was told in confession once not to wish it away- that my battle against anxiety is my share in Christ's suffering, my cross to bear. This made more sense to me than all the advice in every self-help book I'd ever read, combined. Have I posted this quote from CS Lewis before?:
Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.
It's such a great one.
Anyway, I was exhausted yesterday morning and emotionally quite raw. What I needed, I remembered, was to, like I said in my living fully in the present podcast, drop everything and return to the here and now, where Christ and His restorative peace resides. I literally sprinted to the present, so desirous was I of resting (I needed rest!) in the presence of God. For two hours, while the kids got on their "free-play" all around me ("free-play", by the way, can get super messy), I threw myself into grating zucchini, creaming honey and oil, sifting whole wheat flour with baking soda and salt. First I doubled the recipe, and then quadrupled it, getting lost in the quiet rhythm of measuring and mixing, praying the Jesus Prayer as I went along, emptying my mind of all else. When my mother, she's an angel, popped in later (my mother is eerily skillful at "popping in" when I've hit a low point), she said, "What's that smell?" - like in a good way this time, and then I said, "so many loaves of zucchini bread," and she looked at me sympathetically because we all know, let's be honest, I'm not a baker by nature. This was highly abnormal behavior on my part.
It helped though - all of it, really and truly: the acceptance of my vulnerabilities, the creating of something nourishing, the expectant prayers, being thought of by someone I love. That afternoon, I reheated my mug of coffee, for at least the 9th time, sliced me a piece of still warm comfort (smothered in butter, of course), and finally faced my laptop and weekly planner.
You know, every time I emerge from another scary bout of despair (a little more weathered and worn), I find I'm that much more detached from longings for things and recognition. Even now, I am completely overcome by a craving for simplicity that's been gnawing at me for weeks. How can I love as Christ loves when my attention is scattered and my goals so convoluted? Falling flat on my face has a way of slowing me down, and keeping me plenty humbled. And overall, in terms of salvation (unearthly terms), I think that's a good thing.