Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Worry & Grace

I am not a worrier. At least, not generally. I would say that I can most accurately be described as a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. If I'm really honest with myself, I'd say I'm proud of that. 

I like not being a worry-wart. It gives me confidence to know that I can handle most anything that happens. Schedule upsets? No big deal - though, let's be honest, there are rarely any real schedules to keep. Unknown future? What good would knowing do me anyway? I can not change what may or may not happen, and I could only prepare so much because it will probably not pan out as predicted. If I was a worrier, someone who needed that control over life, I would waste the day away fretting about how it isn't fitting my expectations or desires. I very much like not fretting.

And besides, I can always give myself a big pat on the back and say, "Ah, good job. You are not a worry kind of gal. You get extra brownie points because you are extra obedient to Jesus' words (Matthew 6). And not just Jesus, but Paul too (Philippians 4). Well done, you!"

Isn't that what we all want to do? Give ourselves a pat on the back for being super spiritual?

Really, truly, though, there are some things I do worry about. And they are inevitably silly things most of the time, and nearly all in the past. A few examples:

One thing I worry about is whether or not I went on a date with someone in college. Back story: went to see a movie with some friends. Some time later, someone asked if it was a double date. I didn't know. Then I worried that it was, but that I wasn't aware it was, and that maybe I hurt someone's feelings because I didn't know it was. But how could I know if no one told me? It doesn't matter. I still regret not knowing, not for my own sake, but for his. And of course I'll never know now. This was eons ago. Ages and ages. And it doesn't even matter at all, but I still find myself worrying about it.

Another thing I often worry about occurred around Easter of 2007. We had gone to Walmart and it was packed. Supremely busy. We grabbed whatever one or two items we had gone in for, then hopped into the self-checkout lane. A lady waiting a few turns behind us started an argument with me over something silly, then ended in a huff with, "I'll be sure to pray for you, 'cause you sure need it." I nearly cried (I'd chalk it up to hormones since I had just found out I was pregnant with A), and got very flustered. I still worry about that woman, about that whole interaction. What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently to ease her night and make her Easter better? Nothing, I'm sure, but it still bothers me 5 years later.

I worry that the words I speak to strangers might break their spirits. I worry that perhaps the day I'm in a bit of a huff with a particularly slow checker at the store might be the day they are suffering. Perhaps that is the day that they so badly need a smile and a friendly chat from someone, anyone.

It does no good dwelling on the past, but the memories haunt me all the same. I never will know if I went on that date, and I never will know how that night could have turned out in Walmart if I had just held my tongue when the lady first started to snap at me.

But I do know that I can adjust my expectations and attitude to find grace in the future. I can be kinder, gentler, more gracious. In fact, as I have grown older, and undoubtedly wiser - I'm sure you'll agree,  I have this desire to be gracious. When I am gone from this life, I want people to say, "What a gracious woman, Bekea was. How well she soothed and encouraged those around her." (Or something to that effect anyway, feel free to ad lib as necessary since I don't want the service getting too redundant.)

I want to be the balm that soothes the weary, broken, discouraged, or otherwise needy spirits I may meet along the way.

I never want to worry that I am the root of someone's bitterness, discouragement, despair, or discontent.

My heart's desire is to be a beacon of God's grace. I don't ever think it should be hard - I'm friendly, kind, compassionate, hospitable (I know, I know, humble, too). Seriously, though, I sometimes joke that I do belong in Kenya because I so very easily expect everyone to find themselves welcome at my home any time - provided they do not mind the mess, noise, and munchkins. I deeply love people. If you are a friend I made in college, we may have lost touch and are no longer as close as we once were, but my love has not dimmed. I'm merely a pathetic failure when it comes to keeping in touch. If letters were written purely by intention and love found in the heart/mind, consider yourselves all recipients of many, many more letters. To remember things like "Blessed so that I may bless".

I just wish I could be better at getting that out into real life. Practically speaking, I am not a very good beacon because I am, in truth, a bit lazy, quite forgetful and I procrastinate often.

What really worries me though, is that by putting this out there, and by professing that my heart's desire is to grow and change, that I'll be forced to undergo some moments of growth and change

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. 
(Pr 16:24)

And I really do wish I could find out about some of those things in the past - like that date/non-date. It'd help me move on to something else to worry about, haha!