Daddy’s clothes, 1994

stained glass

As I closed the door

and he walked away

my heart raced

as it does after a nightmare.

Ten minutes ago he asked

if I would wear his class ring.

I panicked, sputtering excuses:

“You paid a lot of money for it,”

and “It’s way too big.”

I’m not ready

to be stamped with his brand.

I’ll put on Daddy’s old sweatshirt

and hug my arms around my middle.

Big and baggy is in

and boys don’t stare.

I wear Daddy’s blue oxford dress shirts,

bass fishing tournament tees

(even though I hate flying hooks)

and printed rayon button-downs.

My favorite shirt drapes softly over me

with its moody kaleidoscope:

dark blues and purples, greens and magenta

fragmented by black lines

like a Tiffany lampshade.

When I look through the violet panes

melancholy floods me

and I long for the touch

of something just beyond my reach.

Jesus with a shredder

shredderCast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 NIV

As a child, I was known as a worrywort. I suppose that’s typical of many type-A firstborns. I recorded worries and fears in my journals: staying home alone, the start of a new school year, and all kinds of concerns about my divorced parents. At bedtime, Mom advised me to give my worries to Jesus, imagining he would gather them in a huge sack (the reverse of Santa Claus–a sack of worries, not toys) and throw them into the ocean. I took small comfort in her words, then proceeded to worry after she turned off the light. I wondered, “Does God really care about what’s in that sack? What happens to my worries at the bottom of the ocean? Do they stay there like a shipwreck, or do they dissolve in the water?” My childhood concrete thinking couldn’t handle the spiritual metaphor.

As I’ve grown in faith, I’ve learned to conquer my worry habit through Bible study and prayer. One particular book helped me the most. It’s Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. Sometimes I still need help calming down before sleep, just as I did as a child. I found a mental image that works better than the sack: Jesus with a shredder.

I’m highly visual, so this picture of Jesus allows me to mentally cast all my anxiety on him. When I can’t sleep, it’s usually because I’m overwhelmed with mental pictures from my day. I envision myself handing each difficult image over to Jesus who shreds them in a heavenly shredder. I give them over to him so I can rest peacefully, knowing he cares for me and that he’s in charge.

I really like one of God’s names that Linda Dillow uses: The Blessed Controller. Each time I surrender a worry over to The Blessed Controller, my faith grows. I can then meditate on a verse Mom told me many times: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10 NIV

How do you handle your anxiety?