I was literally having an anxiety attack at about 10:55 this morning. Heading out the door for church, and I couldn’t find my checkbook (which I needed to register for the upcoming Women’s Retreat). I looked in the drawer under the telephone, in the bill file, in my recently used handbags: no checkbook.
I hate losing things. I hate it because it (never okay) very rarely happens. Everything has a place, and every thing gets put away in its place every time every thing is used.
Yes, faithful readers of this blog will remind me of the same thing that Andy so handily brought up at 11:03 this morning, that I had just lost the iPhone a little over a week ago. So apparently this idea that I never lose things is a delusion – a very peace inducing delusion. And when I get a dose of reality, when something does not show up in its place, I feel like nothing in the world will ever be right again. Suddenly my body is uncomfortable, ugly and agitated. Suddenly, nothing is acceptable, nothing is fine, nothing will feel right until the lost thing is found.
At 11:07 this morning, heading out the door for the 11am service, in an inconsolable state, I said to Andy that people in my condition have prescriptions to help them through each day. How can it be that I’ve gone this long without the aid of psychiatric medication?
Twelve minutes later, I sat down in the sanctuary just as the last Poppy Praise song was winding down. I hate it when I cheat myself of those Hard To Dislike Downright Danceable Jesus songs. I settled in, coughing, determined to remain unhappy. I didn’t fight the repeated urge to check my phone every three minutes for a text that would say, “I found it” from Andy.
The text didn’t come. Yet somehow, after the inspirational New Year sermon, after the pianist fucking rocked (she’s a prodigy!), I began to feel a little bit less insane.
I know that physiologically it takes roughly 19 or 21 minutes for the human body to calm down from typical upsets. So perhaps we’re not talking about a real miracle or anything, but the fact of the matter is that I began to feel like every thing was in its place.
Later, the minister used an analogy I’d never heard before. He reminded us of what it looks like when a young child works very hard on a pencil drawing. You know how a page looks when someone draws with too much pressure and then erases, and erases, and then draws some more only to try to erase again? You know how you can never really erase something fully, and if you try long enough with enough energy, eventually the paper will rip? The minister pointed out that a relationship with God is like getting a fresh sheet of paper any time we need one. (I like to get my new sheet of paper daily – sometimes several times a day . . . sort of like those pills I would be taking if I went and told a psychiatrist about my can’t-stand-to-misplace-anything-anxiety.)
Eventually, we were all invited to the communion table. As I walked along the pew towards the aisle, I noticed that the stunningly gorgeous guys who’d been sitting next to me (a couple? – so handsome!) left their iPhones and sunglasses (about nine hundred dollars worth of sunglasses!) resting lens to lens on the vacated seat cushion. I followed the gentlemen, leaving my checkbookless purse with all of its contents a few seats down. Where we were going, we didn’t need our things. Where we were going, we were acceptable, we were fine, we would be right and all right. Where we were going, everything essential was found.