Wednesday, February 16, 2011

a half grin trying to become unbridled joy...

I've been woefully distracted of late with planning and anticipation of the trip to Australia next month. The distance is hard to fathom, and yet I worry that my expectations will be impossible to satisfy and ruin the whole thing. I've wanted to see Australia since I was tiny and I will actually be going. That reality is more thrilling than I had suspected, and yet in a way I'm terrified. Trevor will already be there, so the entire trip to Sydney will be solo for me. It's a really long flight. Part of me knows I'll be just fine, but the other part can envision all kinds of challenging scenarios.

What is it about the human mind that makes it impossible to wallow in joy and happiness without that looming halo of misfortune? Caution with a hugely capital C. Why can't we just be happy and leave it at that? Is it really the "opposition in all things" asserting itself, or the inherent darkness of mortality reminding us of it's presence? I'm not sure. Or perhaps it's a learned behavior acquired through aging and experience. Where does anxiety really come from?

I know a lot of people that feel acknowledging the possibility of disaster is the only practical way to exist. They seem to feel they're being responsible in planning for calamity. And perhaps to some extent they are. But while you're spending all that time preparing for something that may or may not happen, what are you missing? How many stolen moments of joy do we trudge past diligently, refusing to steal even a glance. And how do you learn to balance the two, because we do realize that you can't go through life never planning or preparing. That's a sure recipe for disaster.

I've always had issues with the idea of self-reliance. Particularly when it seems like we're excluding a vital truth - nothing we have is really ours, but only ours to use for the period of our mortality on the Lord's terms. I don't think we should skip through life expecting Him to just take care of us, but neither do I believe that we should expend so much effort in doing it all ourselves that we deny His power and blessings. I believe we have a responsibility to work and learn and improve upon what we have been given, but equal to that is the responsibility to glory in His blessings. Thirty seconds to laugh with a child or play in a mud puddle is not going to destroy our potential. But a life spent acquiring play things and the time to use them isn't a life either.

So what does it all have to do with me going to Australia? I'm feeling a little guilty about taking the opportunity and spending the money when there are always so many other things that could be done like replacing old windows, saving for retirement, etc. But it's a life experience I would feel criminal in denying. And I can't help feeling that it will teach me an awful lot about myself and who I'm supposed to be. And isn't that really what I'm here to do - learn who I really am and what my purpose is. And the fact that I get to do it with my husband without distractions for two weeks is almost more than I can imagine. So I should probably just grab the blessing with both hands and relish it, right? Strangely harder to do than I thought it would be. But the tickets are booked, the hotels reserved and all the arrangements made, so I guess that means I better start letting myself be really happy about it, right?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Betwixt and between...

Well, I started my new position as the secretary of the potter's guild last night and realized I really haven't outgrown my aversion to responsibility. Every now and then I commit myself to a project only to experience a sudden sense of panic over the expectation. Last night was a repeat of that feeling. It's kind of weird and has left me reflecting a lot today on why I become so insecure over this type of situation. It's not as though I'm not capable of doing the job. I know I can. It's more than that. It's the wanting to do the job. I say yes, and then find myself wondering if it was a dumb idea. It's almost a fear of failure, and yet not really because I know am perfectly capable of meeting the standard. I think it's more being afraid of what might be expected - that there's some hidden monster responsibility that I'm going to have to meet and that I'll hate every minute of it. That leads to my typical flight desire which I quickly suppress and then wonder why I'm feeling so antsy. So how do I fix that? Not exactly sure.

It happens when I begin new projects quite frequently. I commit myself to the process and then worry I might encounter an insurmountable obstacle at some future point. At least now I recognize when I'm doing it and can try and talk myself out of the anxiety. But it makes me wonder what part of my emotional development got short-changed along the way to create the pattern in the first place.

I remember nervous stomachaches as a child over tests and assignments as well as migraines as a teen. I remember missing school only to have to face my anxieties another day. I've outgrown a lot of it, but I still get the occasional twinge and it makes me wonder why I have this innate insecurity. What am I actually afraid of? If I really think about it, it's the same thing that keeps me from throwing aside my cautions and chasing my deepest dreams. It's why I wrote like a demon for 3 years only to suddenly let go rather than attempt to do something with it. It's why I have bursts of creativity only to walk away from them at some point. I suspect I'm afraid of succeeding and what that might mean. Untapped potential is somehow more attractive to me than actual success. I think it's the comfortable nature of it. It's familiar and doesn't have to turn into anything unless I want it to. And really, it's probably the root of a lot of things I struggle with repeatedly.

So how does one overcome fear of what they could be/do? How do you stop being afraid of yourself? It's a difficult question. And viciously introspective as well. How do I stop going only so far and then backing away? I'll have to figure it out someday.