I’ve been wondering lately if some people are wired to feel things more deeply than others. I have always thought that we all feel the same amount of psychic pain, though we have vastly different coping mechanisms. Me, I have NO coping mechanisms, or maybe poor ones, but at least I’m not repressing my emotions. I would LOVE to learn the skill of compartmentalizing my feelings (though my friends who can say it’s not that great), but no, I feel what I feel, when I feel it, and then I have to process it until it’s processed. I haven’t even found a way of shortening that process.
Well, not really. I’ve found ways, but they’re hard work. Prayer is one way, and actually maybe the only successful one, though I do find that deep breathing along with prayer can be useful. Lately my prayer word has been “trust.” Someone suggested “trust” on the inhale and “God,” or “the universe” on the exhale. I rejected the latter on the grounds that the universe conjures images of swirling galaxies, black holes, supernovas and endless black, airless miles — not really something I find trustworthy. “God” is certainly the object of my attempted trust, but somehow it feels better to just say “trust” on the inhale and exhale. Maybe even the word “God” has extraneous connotations for me. But of course it’s God whom I trust, and it is God who is praying through me, the Spirit in me calling out to the Father, a process which is always happening, whether I’m aware of it or not. “Trust” takes me out of the driver’s seat, a place that I’m terrified to be but always jumping into, and reminds me that Someone else is driving, that I can close my eyes, put my feel up on the dashboard and just wait to see where we’re going.
But this needs to be repeated, ad nauseum, and it takes a lot of mental effort. I don’t know why I’m surprised. Brother Lawrence would pause every fifteen minutes to acknowledge God’s presence, which works out to 96 times per day, not counting sleep which I don’t think he did much of anyway. I’m no good at this kind of discipline, but I’m getting better at cutting short the whirl of anxieties in my head with a good deep breath and “trust.”
Where are we going, though? Why did we pass that turn back there? I thought I was supposed to turn there? Breathe. Trust.
What if I’m not dressed properly? What if I’m not prepared? Breathe. Trust.
Maybe I should turn on the car radio? Listen to some tunes? Maybe I should listen to NPR? What if something is happening I am supposed to know about? Breathe. Trust.
And so on, over and over, not day by day but minute by minute.
I am confused because his yoke is supposed to be easy and his burden light. This past year has felt far from easy or light. But Oh the peace in that moment of a deep breath and “trust.” Someone else is driving. Today I was trying over and over again to solve a problem in my mind, and it finally occurred to me that all I had to do was ask for wisdom, and trust that it will be given to me . I need a lot less of a game plan than I thought I did. My job is to put my feet on the dashboard and run my fingers through the wind. His job is to drive.
Yours in the journey.