Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Opposite of Anxiety

The Eddie Bauer catalog arrived a couple days ago.

The good news for Eddie: I wanted everything in it.
The bad news for me: I wanted everything in it.

I've been getting better about just chucking these things when they come through my door, so I don't know what I'm missing, but it's sort of a two steps forward, a step-and-a-half back kind of thing.

I thought about this as I pinned my gentle cycle load to the clothesline on Sunday afternoon, enjoying a fickle burst of spring weather.

We had just returned from eating lunch at Good Luck Grill, a little place at the intersection of a few horse pastures in Manor, TX. My in-laws treated. They're awfully kind that way. The Professor had chicken fried steak (he's a bit deprived in that department). I had a huge salad with grilled shrimp. Being gluten-free has its way of keeping you on the straight and narrow.

As we digested our various lunches, talk turned to the fact that we haven't had a lot of progress lately on the Professor's quest to become a Real, Live Professor. Most of the time I'm okay with this, since I know that a tenderhearted Father is in control of our lives and future. But so many well-meaning folks ask me about our status, that it's hard not to think about it, and hard to keep delivering the verdict: "No news yet! But I'm sure we'll be fine! Thanks for asking!"

Our very dear friend Bonnie, who is about twenty years older than I and infinitely more wise and experienced, offered up the following observation: "The opposite of anxiety is not faith. It's thankfulness." There at the lunch table, surrounded by vintage wall art and antique tricycles, we talked about how easily we all fall prey to anxiety, and how quickly that monster shrivels when we start thanking God for His blessings.

So there I was, pinning my sweaters to the clothesline, acknowledging that desire for newer, nicer, better. At that moment, I mentally stepped back, as if awaking from a stupor. I saw a woman, who owns an electric dryer, making the choice to dry her clothes out in the sunshine. I saw the sun warming her face and tiny green buds appearing on the branches above the clothesline. I saw enough sweaters for every day of the week, their colors contrasting against the clean blue sky. I saw her three healthy children shrieking happily as they jumped on the friendly neighbor's trampoline. I saw ten toes wiggling freely in a pair of flip flops. I saw ten fingers clipping the laundry to the line. I saw her husband working to clean up the yard. I saw none of it costing her a single cent.

I saw that rich woman, and she was me.

And she was thankful.

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Michelle said...

Hannah - Thank you for reminding me of just how wealthy I truly am.

Stephanie said...

Enjoyed this.

Julie said...

Could not be more beautifully and eloquently put. (Is that even a correct sentence?)

Bear Creek Mama said...


Hey, may I officially invite you to a once a month Mom's study group (South)? We meet the 2nd Saturday of each month at 8:00 am. In March we will begin a book study on "Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment" by Linda Dillow.
Then again, maybe you've already got it handled.

Era said...

Thanks for this, I need a dose of thankfulness today.

Tim said...

...and then you saw in your inbox that your husband posted a comment to your blog that, he too, was thankful for his very rich and blessed wife.

Amy Tague said...

What a beautiful post.. and what an awesome reminder of how the Lord speaks to us through our dear brothers and sisters. :)