It hasn't snowed at all yet this winter. I live in Maryland and it's been unseasonably warm. All of us who live here know it hasn't snowed. I don't have to inform anyone but I still keep bringing it up. Yesterday I found myself talking about the lack of snow to the checkout lady in the grocery store. I told her this mild weather makes me nervous and I hope we don't get crazy amounts of snow soon to make up for it. It felt so unnecessary after I said it. Mainly because this has been my go-to small talk for the past couple weeks and I'm tired of hearing myself bring it up. I never know what to say for small talk.
I do worry about the weather though. I worry a lot, in general. I'm worried right now as I type this. I spend my life distracting myself from my worries, trying not to feed my fears. Lately my anxieties have been at an all time high and I've been here and there talking about simplicity and slowing down and getting rid of distractions. All of this because I need the soothing. I need the space to breathe. And I've questioned it because my faith hasn't wavered, it's stronger than ever, so why am I so anxious? How is my faith growing and I'm still worried all the time?
I'm starting to make some sense of it.
When you are constantly stepping out of your comfort zone, stretching yourself and expanding, it's natural to be worried and assured at the same time. New sights. New feels. New challenges. Carried away by imagination, anchored by faith. I like to think that this is part of my becoming. Another contradiction that balances out my emotional extremes. Feeling the fear and being brave anyway. Having worried thoughts but knowing how to redirect them. Being uncomfortable but knowing it's necessary.
Worrying a lot as I do, I refuse to let my thoughts boss me. I've been scared by shadows often enough to know that when you move the light, the shadow transforms into something else.
So the check out lady was worried about the weather too. She hates snow. She wants to move somewhere warm enough to have no winters at all but then she'd have to deal with more hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes, she says. She's glad there's been no snow. It's one less thing to annoy her and make her late for work. We laughed about that. I left her lane with my groceries thinking about how I liked her energy and our exchange. And this is where it gets weird, because in my mind, we were talking about something more than the weather.
What if what I was really saying was:
I'm happy. Things are going well. But I keep looking up at the sky, waiting for it to fall. I'm nervous about being so content. The world is way too uncertain. If I let myself get too comfortable, surely I will be reminded of how fast the seasons change.
And maybe what she was really saying was:
Yeah. I'll be happier when I'm in control with no surprises. I'm just trying to figure where I can go to find that set up. So far, I can only think of places where there are still unwanted situations and I'm still not in control.
Or something like that.
Carried away by imagination, this is how I flip things sometimes, looking for meaning and truth beyond the surface. If you really listen to the things people say, the chatter we distract ourselves with can be code for help me, see me, i'm scared too. You can move the light, you know? Shift the shadows and see things differently.
I'm wired this way, so this is what I do. I'm preoccupied with noticing. This is why I'm a writer and I guess maybe why I'm a worrier too. Overthinking can make little things huge and great things horrible but it can also create quiet, strangely meaningful moments from everyday things like chatting about the weather with the lady at the grocery store.
What I wish for all of us is that we would worry less and imagine more.