I’ve always had a fear of death. I can remember trying to fall asleep at night as a little girl and thinking about how I was going to die some day. The fear would rise to such intensity that I would race down the stairs at full speed and jump into my mother’s arms. “Oh sweetie. Most people don’t die until they’re very, very old and that’s a long time from now. It’s ok.” We would talk about God and heaven for a while. She would hold me and I’d watch a little TV or read a book with her until I was settled down. Then, I’d get tucked into my bed again for a good night’s sleep.
I think anxiety, for some, has to do with these questions of “Why are we here? What’s the meaning of life? Where’s God? Why do people have to die? What happens next?”
Sometimes I’ll be gazing up at the sky or simply going about my day and thoughts will come in like a Fox TV newstream, “You might want to sit down for this one folks. . .This just in. . .We live on a planet. . .you know, one that’s spinning & traveling through space. . . and did you know that outer space is just beyond our atmosphere. . .and, here’s the kicker people, we’re all gonna die someday!” When we’re fully aware of this amazing existence of ours, it can take you back a bit.
Sometimes, I have to remember that these repetitive thoughts are simply symptoms of anxiety (where content has little meaning). When that happens, I start going down the “AWARE” list.
But, other times it’s a reminder to dig deeper. A reminder to have gratitude for life and the love around me. A reminder that the spiritual task of anxiety calls for us to have faith in something we cannot see and to surrender in the face of it’s awesome mystery.