I pretty much rather be anywhere but here. Run 39 miles. Eat rotten tomatoes. Have a big zit on my face while speaking in front of a huge audience. Naked on subzero terrain. Eat pig’s feet. Listen to Vanilla Ice.
I don’t know, but I do know this:
Suspended in space. The birds fly below, not above. A white fluffy blanket of clouds serve as my unstable net.
In this hour and half phase of my life I have zero control. And anxiety pretty much sucker punches any coherent thought. So I write…in hopes that I can Jedi mind trick my mind into calming down.
I am on the way home from a girl’s trip with my two dearest friends Julie and Natalie—we just spent five days of talking, eating, and shopping too much in New York City, which I will write about when my head is clear and my heart isn’t palpitating to the point that I can hear it reverberate in my eardrum.
But for now I am beginning to feel the benefits of my new friend. Until about 4o minutes ago, I was a virgin Xanax girl, but because I have developed a newfound phobia of flying, my good friend Julie thought I might need to dip in the calming waters of “the pearly white pill”. I think it was my bobbing knees and twitching forehead that might have clued her into the fact that Ms. Go with the Flow was now Ms. Stiffed Neck Sweaty Palms. She gazed over at me on our shuttle ride to the departure gate like I was some monkey captured in a cage shaking because I knew I had no way out and kindly, so she then kindly, but firmly told me, didn’t ask me… “ Linds, please, you gotta chill out, my goodness, here have this little guy—you should feel quite nice shortly.”
Odd, that I use to fly to France alone for the summer, take a midnight train to places I could not even speak the language, hop on the Chunnel to London like it was some short bike ride to the grocery store— I guess I was fearless back in the day…… or naïve, not quite sure. My gut tells me the latter. But, now, I am 34 years old with two little ones at home and when my feet aren’t on the ground my heart tightens, pounds— not with delight, more with, “Dear Jesus, I am believing you to get me home. Please help me not go the bathroom all over myself or scare the bajeebees out of the woman next to me whom I do not know even know, yet I am clinching her arm so tightly that I might just have broken through her delicate skin. Oh, and please help her not to think I am too phsycho—just a wee bit phsycho is fine, though.”
What has happened to me? The young exploratory and daring Lindsay? Even Julie leaned over to me as we waited for our flight that was delayed 4 gazillion times and said in her sassy red headed, southern over the top dialect, “WHAT happened to adventurous Lindsay? Take a plane, see you later, c’est la vie!? Lawdy, you are wound up. You. Are. Fine.”
Guzzling my five dollar airport water and in between each swing I am repeating over and over to myself in a loud whisper that mimics Rainman,” you are fine, you are fine, you are fine…” But, not really believing it no matter how many times I say it, I choose to dig to the bottom of my handbag to find the Xanax that I might just need in case the heavens decided to be bumpy and rebellious.
Then I pondered Julie’s question, “WHAT did happen to me??” And then I uttered a delayed, tongue twisted by fretfulness response, “I don’t know,Juls, I had kids. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe it’s that I now realize life is not eternal like I did in my twenties. But really I think it’s something else. It’s the lack of the “ C” word.
And now as I have grudgingly made my way into the atmosphere, I feel as though I have none of the “C” word while being bottled up in this tiny plane, bouncing off clouds, going 697 miles per hour at 30,000 feet with a pilot that looks like Doogey Howser. My face glued to the window examining my exterior like a Beagle looking for a rabbit to chase, except I am trying to find land below me….ALL I want to see is a patch, a spot, a smidgen that tells me, “Not much longer, almost there, you’ll be just fine.”
But, truth is I know now what only wisdom and A LOT of mistakes can teach you and it is this: Nothing is really in my hands or your hands, I may think it is, but it is all propaganda of the mind—just like me thinking that if I see land below, then I am sure to arrive safely home. It’s a false confidence.
I mean, we all calculate these crazy equations in our heads, that we somehow believe will add up. But when life is lived and outcomes are not as we premeditated, it’s not our math that is off, it’s our misperception that we are God, that surely we in our humanity can make life add up just as we want.
- If I move to the right neighborhood with the right people = life will go my way
- IF I have sex on the right day with the right medication = I will get pregnant
- If I don’t have sex on the right days and take the right medication = I won’t get pregnant
- If I send my kids to the best schools with the brightest kids= the road will be paved for them
- If I go to church and I am a good person = surely I won’t be asked to get too far out of my comfort zone
- If I get the right job= no financial worries
- If I eat a gluten free diet, moisturize every other day, and run on the treadmill five times a week= I’ll live a long life
- If I am successful= everyone will deem me important
Guilty as charged. I have done all of these. Even worse, I have done them, gotten burnt by the fire of their arrogance …and then done them again. Slow learner party of one.
Truth is we can no more control our lives than I can control the weather outside this plane. Now, that doesn’t mean you get up and live recklessly, thinking, “Nothing that I do matters anyhow.” That’s not what I am saying. Lack of planning is equally as foolish.
All this ole control freak is saying is this: Do your best. Live your life each day. Make plans. Commit those plans to God with complete surrender (yes, you read that right….don’t pass out, God most likely won’t ask you to move to Africa, live in a tent with no running water, and never wear deodorant—BUT no promises….). Complete surrender is the hardest, yet most freeing place to live—a place where you and I must be willing to release our plans at any given time that He asks.
Now, that I have freaked you out…let me give you a dollop of hope to pile on your newfound panic.
Here is WHY you might want to gently let go of those reigns that you hold onto with a determined grasp:
Those reigns are an allusion. The only thing that tells you they exist is your grip. You may be clutching so tightly and so fixated on not letting go of those reigns, that you are headed straight toward a big cliff of disappointment when you could be grazing in a field of contentment, but you missed it because you were holding onto that leash of false control.
The tether isn’t our plans—it not being able to let go of our plans when God has bigger ones. It’s holding on tightly to our idea of what we think will happen if we do x, y, and z. And while we may hold this leash all our life if we choose, most often it only leads to a second rate life that is coxed, and contorted by our false beliefs that we control the destination. No different than being dead set on visiting Mexico, while you are headed north. But, we do it every day, I do it every day. Exhibit A: If I am a good enough person then life will be easier… everyone will like me. WRONG.
Truth is, what we can control is this: our attitude, our surrender, our acknowledgment that maybe we don’t know what’s best for our lives. Maybe that simply means we pray, we plan, and tell God our heart, our desires. And then we commit those longings to Him, knowing that He isn’t always a safe God. But He is a God that wants not just our good, but our very best.
With that thought lingering, the wheels boom and beat up the black tarmac runway, reminding me that I have landed. Worrying, not worrying, pill, no pill, I am back in Nashville. And so it is the same with life—- I live most days, you live most days in the in between, thinking we are in control but in reality we are suspended between the rising and falling.
But in that suspension, it’s the daily release, the daily acknowledgment that my days are His, to be used to love, to give, and to live beyond myself. And maybe it’s that truth that allows us to finally let go and really fly.
And as always, I know you have a life beyond this blaring screen…so,.thanks for reading my crazy thoughts that chase me down until they are inscribed. Maybe somewhere in the mayhem my struggles will bless you…xoxo