Even-keeled: something I've never been. Laser beam focus: something I've never had.
Taking things in stride: not my forte.
I freak out about stuff. Stuff that isn't even freak-out worthy.
Worrying is my spiritual gift.
I come from a long line of fiery Irishmen. And women. Freckles and feistiness. Sleeve wearing hearts. More reactionary than reserved. More joshing than gentleness. I didn't grow up drinking sweet tea and it shows.
Sarcasm is my native tongue. Loyalty is my lens for everything- to a fault. To a big stinky fault.
One might think that at my ripe old age of almost 39 I'd have finally embraced my own lack of continuity. That smooth sailing's not in my DNA. That I'd stop trying to find regularity and embrace the free form, meter-less thing that is my life and my handling of it.
I know we go through seasons. Richard Rohr, via my husband, has opened my eyes to a second half of life perspective I find amazing and terribly daunting.
When I think about my own personal story and as I reflect on all the moves (many) we have made over the course of the past few decades...maybe my obsession with "home" and making it "home" and always re-inventing or re-imagining home is that
I want brick and mortar when I've been invited to pitch a tent.
And re-pitch it…with frequency.
Since moving to Charlotte in 2004, we exchanged solid, insurance-having jobs with offices of our own for inconsistency, newness, and unexpectedness. Which is one part ridiculously breathtaking and another part bittersweetly unsettling. Not Settled. Never Settled. Never ever ever.
And, for better or worse, due to the nature of the "line of work I'm in", I've been given a front row seat to the lives of many. For the celebration and the heartbreak. For the addition and subtraction. And although somewhere, somehow on some evaluation or inventory I scored high in mercy, this communal roller coaster is one for which I'm ill-equipped.
Last month while running my weekly route, I had my first ever panic attack. I've heard about such things, and definitely have had my rashy, blotchy, light-headed moments of anxiety in my life, but never a full-on, I can't catch my breath panic attack.
I stopped behind a big parked truck on the side of the road and did some kind of hyper-ventilating meets crying meets looking around to see if anyone could see me kind of thing like loon. If you saw me on Colville Road that day, I'm really sorry for the public display of crazy.
So I walked home from my run. I turned off my iGadget and pulled out my earbuds and listened to my pounding heart and squeaky wheezing while the unseasonably warm December wind blew on my frizzy, sweaty head. And by the time I got home, it was ok. I was ok.
I won't bore you with the details that led to my aforementioned hyperventilation, and although I'd never physically experienced the manifestation of my worry in this unsightly form, I've been here before. Big change. Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling defeated. Rug pulled out from under and even though it's happened before, the fall is just as hard and maybe even a bit more painful due to old bruising. Like my current favorite songwriter wrote Ryan O'Neal wrote
...All the bruises seem to surface like mud beneath the snow.
The Bible is said to be God-breathed. Inspired by God. By people who were able to witness God in the flesh, God in action firsthand or His handiwork.
In these past few weeks, when my lungs seemed tight, when my breath seems shortened, when my longing for a cadence, any cadence of constancy no matter the speed of the tempo surfaces…it's here in the stopping and regrouping and headphone removing and publicly disheveled moments that my mind drifts from my own sputtering heartbeat to a sparkling puddle on the sidewalk and the sound of my shoe hitting the cold pavement. The unexpected beauty in pulling up the stakes on this tent and finding a new place to nestle in with hopes that the destination isn't desert but something lush and life-giving. But either way, I'll call it home there because who I am never trumps who's with me.
And here, a month later, when the test results from the doctor were good, when the disaster that wasn't averted might not have been such a disaster, when friends new and old share my unsettledness in stride, when my husband reaches across the lego-covered table to hold my hand, when I run that same route down Colville...I feel the exhalation of my crippling fear and I drink in the first-hand handiwork of an ever-patient, magnificent and creative Creator and the sense of my own form being God-breathed. Even someone uneven-keeled like me.
The very breath of God can fill this square peggedness. And this sweaty, frizzy downcast head gets lifted.
And for that, God, I am so very grateful.