But I’m so much better at worrying…

Greg and I are getting ready to travel in a few days, taking our oldest kid on a special trip to Paris. SERIOUSLY — to PARIS!

And can I just say? There is not a lot of Parisian fancy-schmancy in my life these days what with a house more redolent of little boys than Nutella crepes. You’ll understand, then, why I’m only excited to go and not one bit worried about leaving my littles behind.

Oh, wait.

Nope.

Almost forgot.

I’m a total wreck. That’s right. Because as much as I love to travel — and I DO, as I keep reminding myself — I tend to spend my away-from-the-tinies time thinking about death, death and also death. Mine, Greg’s, and theirs. It’s the never-ending mental death spiral. Gah!

I am SUCH a joy as a traveling companion. Greg just LOVES it.

In my defense, though, worrying gets a bad wrap, doesn’t it? Because worrying is productive. Let’s look at the evidence, Greg. I’ve worried for years and years and our kids are thriving. And that’s scientific proof; worrying’s not pretty but it works.

Besides, if not worry, then what? Prayer? Oh, blurg. Please don’t misunderstand. I love Jesus. I do. And not only because of that whole water-to-wine number, although I will say, Good one, Jesus; that miracle was RAD. It’s just that, when it comes right down to my faith and my doubts, I don’t trust God to answer my prayers the way I want them answered or to be the wish-granting Fairy Godmother I long to have. It’s OK, though; I promise. Don’t worry. God’s a big kid and can handle my petulance and my teeny, tiny issues with prayer and death. We’re still on speaking terms, and I suppose the silver faith lining can be found in that space.

Still, when I fly across the globe away from my tinies, I find myself whispering, Please. 

Please keep them safe. Please do.

Please.

Then I saw this quote from Anne Lamott:

“I have to tell you (and me) what my pastor Veronica said when I asked St. Andrew for extra prayers when I was flying across the world. She said when you’re on the plane, it’s a little late for beggy prayers: instead, it’s time for trust and surrender.”

And I thought, oh.

Oh.

Oh.

Trust and surrender.

Well, that just sucks.

And it’s beautiful.

Kind of like life. And faith. And all of our journeys.

Both terrible and stunning.

So off we go. To live this high risk / high reward life.

I’m not making any promises, friends. I mean, I rock worrying. But I’m going to give trust and surrender a shot. Even though it feels like the first step of prayer.

……….

Eiffel Tower photo credit chrisroll at freedigitalphotos.net
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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
11 comments
  1. A PERFECT post. I so get this. Flying to China to get a couple little girls? Ugh….all the thoughts of “what if I die and leave all the rest of them without a Mama while trying to go save one more?” UGH. satan sucks. Yeah. I said SUCKS.

  2. This was awesome to read, because I love to find out when people are the same kind of crazy as I am. I can’t even send my kid to Grandma’s house without contemplating worst-case-scenarios over and over (My name is Cathie, and I am obsessive-compulsive…) and my prayer, more often than not is for me to be able to trust God to be God and take care of things.
    You are a blessing to me, Beth. Have fun in Paris, and don’t worry. God’s in charge.

  3. Of course worrying is productive: it’s like preventative medicine. (Dads can totally be worriers too). And like all people who are committed worriers, I secretly believe that people who don’t worry are just being irresponsible, like people who drive without insurance, leaving us worriers to have to pick up the slack.

    But Paris is one of the best cities I’ve ever worried in. Parisienne worrying has a certain cosmopolitan je ne sais quois, delicately tinged with a Hemingwayesque ennui. And, knowing the French, they probably have perfume that captures that, so when you get home and get tired of your run-of-the-mill worrying, you can briefly recapture that French worrying.

    Variety, even in worrying, is the spice of life.

  4. It’s easy to worry from this side, too. So trust God, have faith, have fun. I will if you will!

    1. I’ll see what I can do, and I’ll report back. 😉 I’m very glad my littles are BEGGING to leave for Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house… it does make it much easier.

  5. terrible and stunning. yes. and oh my word – surrender so you can have a blast! and eat lots of nutella too. it has protein in it.

    1. 😀 Nutella IS an excellent consolation. Also pain au chocolat. Also fresh baguettes. Also chocolate eclairs. Also I might need to pack my running gear.

  6. Oh, Beth. I *might* be able to give you a run for your money in the best-worrier race. Actually, that’s a title I’ve been trying to lose for quite some time now. And that’s why I was so interested in your trust and surrender bit.
    For the past four years, it seems God has been leading me through different themes. In 2009 it was TRUST. 2010 was OBEY. 2011 was SURRENDER. And this year seems to be PEACE. It’s a beautiful place to be, and I do find myself worrying LESS these days.
    Here’s to your journey of trust and surrender!

    1. That’s just the trouble with God, Karen. It takes a WHOLE YEAR (or more – sheesh) to master Trust, Obey and Surrender. Don’t even get me started on exactly how unreasonable it is to Deny Myself or Love My Enemies. 😉

      (Seriously, though – thanks for such a nice comment and the solidarity, Karen. xo )

  7. Ugh, I both needed and didn’t exactly want to hear this tonight. This girl is incredibly guilty of wallowing in worry this evening. Feeling very convicted, now. Thanks, Beth.

    1. Sending x’s and o’s, Kendall

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