It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. – C.S. Lewis
Every couple of months I become convinced my death is imminent. This is a problem I’ve had since childhood. Anxiety + undiagnosed but totally obvious Obsessive Compulsive Disorder = Worrywart with a mild side of hypochondria. And endurance. Wow, can I carry through with worrying.
Now that I am in my thirties, and a mom, I find that the way I deal with my fear-of-impending-doom is to become manically obsessed with my faith and, more specifically, DOING GOOD. To try to distract myself from awful fears about what will happen to the people I love if I were to die, I begin to live radically, trying to turn every monotonous action into an act of kindness. My career is in the Christian non-profit sector, but when I am in this frantic mode I know that I am not doing enough. I look everywhere for ways to help that I might otherwise have been too rushed or too fearful or shy to follow through with. I become obsessed with working for social justice and fighting poverty. I stop and give money to the man on the corner with a cardboard sign that says he’s a hungry veteran. When I see an elderly person at the grocery store struggling to read a grocery list, I see if I can assist them. These acts of kindness give me a buzz so intense I cannot put it into words.
But I don’t stop there..I seek out information about Christ. I study my Bible. I get my family to church. I’m trying to cram for my final test, you see. I want to make it to heaven, so surely by doing as much good as I can I can build up some gold stars on that invisible score card in the sky that our Father will pull and read from on judgment day to separate the wheat from the chaff.
And then, in some way I become convinced that I was wrong, perhaps my life will carry on a bit longer, and slowly I get lazy. And soon, I’ve forgotten about living radically and all the things that I had started to do. The brave things. The hard things.
Some time passes and once again I am overcome with an overwhelming feeling of the fleeting nature of life and terror is quickly followed with shame. Now I start over, frantically seeking out good deeds to do in the everyday, and humbly begging God to forgive my laziness. My complacency.
I’m tired of it. It’s exhausting.
For the last several months I’ve been trying to acknowledge the fact that I WANT to live like this – in a radically kind and brave way – ALL the time. It makes me a better wife, a more ambitious mother, and a more worthy participant in LIFE.
And so… my journey continues.
Blessed are those… who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. – Psalm 84:5