I woke up in the middle of the night with intense cramping and immediately thought to myself, “Oh crap, it’s Toxic Shock Syndrome! I don’t know how I’ll get to the hospital, who should I call, but I should pack extra clothes and what if my fingernails rot off by tomorrow and darnit, I’m gonna die because I’m falling asleep again…” All because of a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature news story I had to read in college.
Or like last week when I found mouse droppings in my apartment and started wondering who was going to take care of my pets when all my organs exploded and I perished in extreme pain from Hantavirus. Thank you “Virus Hunter,” the most intriguingly sick and scary book I’ve ever read.
I even remember as an 8 year old kid, crawling up into Caroline’s top bunk (the Crow’s Nest) and whispering to her that I’d found a lump in my breast. Turned out to be a nipple! But I didnt’ know! All I knew was that moms and dads everywhere were always talking about who had found a lump in her breast this week, and I just knew I was gonna be the next to die.
Does this ever happen to you? Maybe not specifically, but do you have ridiculous fears? It’s funny… but so truly human! I know Claire and Kristi in the office are always coming to me with some fear of a blood clot or a tumor… and it’s true, things happen and it’s good to be safe. But sometimes I wonder if all our technology and education curse us in the end?!? Seriously, people – we live way longer these days than 100 years ago, but we walk around terrified of saturated fats and freak accidents.
I guess we just live everyday as best we can. But even trying to do that can be exhausting! I didn’t talk to my Grandma this week! I didn’t pay my car bill! I didnt’ shave my legs! I didn’t work out! I was cross with a coworker! I was impatient with a neighbor!
Obviously, that brings up an entirely different set of fears – the fears that if you screw up, everyone will hate you forever (even if they don’t know or care) and you’ll die from the guilt. Ugh. I guess the only answer is grace? Grace with ourselves and grace with others, and maybe taking a few extra breaths to look around and laugh and find the good in whatever the situation. Be it a lump or a nipple.