Pause the Panic-Loop

I spotted him. A streak of bright red tucked behind branches. A male cardinal. He was the culprit that interrupted my stream of thoughts. Mind you, it was a necessary interruption. I was caught in an endless loop of worry, anger and panic. You would think that lounging in a kiddie (adult) pool in your backyard in 32 degrees Celsius weather while on holiday would be a relaxing activity. If I were to post a photo, boy would it appear desirable (especially since small pools are sold out and beaches are closed right now.) While my body was submerged in cool water on a hot day, my mind was racing. This pandemic has a way of producing waves of rest and panic, with no in-between. 

I was three days in on a ‘rest phase’ and feeling a bit less overwhelmed with everything when the phone rang. I had just returned from the drug store where, for the first time in fourteen weeks, I took some time to browse. For me, essential shopping meant no time for browsing. It was a matter of quick decisions, sticking to a list and getting the heck out of there. But during this outing I was happy to have purchased a pair of cute floral earrings. This small purchase combined with feeling okay to take some time to browse put me in a ‘slightly normal’ mood. A mood that would only last a few more minutes. 

The phone rang and I sat there waiting for the update. We had already lost a few nights sleep over this recurring conversation. After receiving the news, I tried my best to not worry, panic or feel anger. That’s when I decided to step into our small pool to cool off. Hoping that the sunshine, high temperature and refreshing water would ‘cool’ me down. Unfortunately, it did not. I was stuck in an endless loop of worry, anger and panic. My mind felt as over-worked as my air conditioner. I was so consumed with my thoughts that I barely noticed the cloudless day or the fact that I was on vacation. My inner thoughts blacked-out the natural world almost entirely….until a persistent noise interrupted me (more like “whit, whit, whit, too, too, too”). It wasn’t a song or a chirp or a squawk. It was a sound as consistent as a metronome and direct as a life guard trying to get a swimmer’s attention. I seemed to be the swimmer. He was the lifeguard. So I decided to pause the loop happening in my mind and listen to his rant. He sounded like he was taking charge of his surroundings and was someone important making an announcement. With each “whit” commanding more of my attention I became more open to a new perspective (a timely message). If his oration could be translated, I might have heard something like,

“Enough is enough!

I am in charge.

I will make things right.” 

When our world seems out of control we feel helpless, even hopeless at times. We need to pause the ‘negative loop’ and invite new perspectives, trusting that some things are beyond our control but not out of control. We do our part to make things right and good, and at the same time we let go and trust that Someone far greater than us is doing His/Her part to also make all things right and good.

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