I’ve been feeling down and anxious.  In fact, last week I had a full blown pity party complete with bitter tears and long, writing down every miserable thing that happened this week.  The point was twofold:  1) to gain perspective by seeing the pattern and 2) simply to expel the poison.

Stress accumulates to nearly my limit and then the next trying circumstance, however trivial, is enough to make everything overflow.

Searching online to find the antidote for self-pity, I found secular and spiritual sites that actually agree on the remedy:  gratitude.  Expressing thankfulness for the good things in our lives, big and small, has actually been shown to improve happiness. Gratitude and self-pity can’t exist in the same space.  So rather than listing why I am sad, hurting, miserable, overworked. . . . .I should be counting my blessings.  They say it works best if you write them down in a gratitude journal.

What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.
Romans 7:15

I know that I should do that, but. . . . there’s part of me that wants an occasional round of self-pity.  This feeds on itself and leads to selfishness, fear and believing the lie that God doesn’t really love me.  Depression is an auto-immune disease where I wage war on myself in a crazy effort to attack my self-esteem.

After a long night with little sleep, I headed out on a two simple errands and some unexpected lessons along the way.

While driving to get my car serviced, I heard a helpful clip on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel about fear.  Hallie Lord’s doing the spots, based on content in her soon-to-be-released book: On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found PeaceShe asked whether our fears are about things that are happening right now OR about our most dire predictions of what might happen. When I predict the future, I’m almost always wrong.  It was a great insight for me as I strive to move from fear to faith.

When I got to the car dealership, God put me to the test.  I could not find my key fob.  I obviously had it since I drove the car.  I began digging and clawing through my massive tote bag.  I ultimately emptied it on the desk and floor.  Out came some prayer cards, my mom’s rosary beads along with the standard wallet, pens and hairbrush.  It took me at least five minutes, even after my Tile told me the key was within arms reach.

The technician was patient and kind, but I felt sweaty, embarrassed, foolish and scatterbrained.  Or I thought that’s how I was being perceived, even though he didn’t show any signs of being annoyed by my lack of preparation.

The second errand was dropping off a package at the Holiday Inn for a friend who is coming into town later today.  The clerk at the desk was on a call about a computer problem.  She didn’t make eye contact with me or speak until I had stood at the counter for several minutes.

Coming out of the motel, I found myself blocked by a tractor trailer unloading building materials for the motel’s ongoing renovations.  The truck was about 1/4 full.

So I went to my car and sat.  I played with my phone.  I prayed.  I leaned back and rested my eyes. I played with my phone some more. Finally, the unloading was done, but the driver was not moving the truck  “Does he even realize I’m here?”

Just as I thought I should find him, he jumped in the cab.  Still no movement.  “Should I ask him to move?”  Before I could, he started the truck and was gone.

As I drove home, I was thankful to have a car that is running well. I was happy that the traffic was relatively light.  I looked at spring’s vibrant green alongside the road and I was glad.

#anxious, #pity, #gratitude,#fear,#humility,#patience