While at work yesterday my supervisor and I started talking about anxiety attacks.She asked if I had ever had any.
I told her when I was young I was a very shy child with all kinds of fears and although things frightened me I never remember having attacks of dread.I can,however,remember being around age thirteen,sitting in a class room having reoccurring thoughts of my parents dying.Usually I would pray through it and feel better until the next wave occurred then I would repeat the process.
Since she had had several her self,we talked about what an anxiety attack feels like and how she had recently talked someone out of their attack.Helping them,at that moment,gain control over their fears.
Anxiety always seems to hit when a person is calm not when they are in a conflict situation.If something happens to you,you are able to work through the issue but later on when at rest the feelings attack and paralyze you with dread and thoughts of your own death.
Every year during lent I read several books.One of which is the teachings of St.Frances of Assisi.This is a good grounding book to where your life should be headed and how to make the corrections in small steps.
One of the things he talks about is Joy.In this society we fear being joyful because it will make us look silly and out of place.
St.Frances talks about when your sad you should go into a room and pray to God.You should get angry or weep and let your father know what is bothering you.Empty your self of negative emotions then pray for peace and go into the world with joy and gladness.
This will not only help you but also all those you encounter along the way.
He claims that anger,sadness,depression and all other negative thoughts are from the devil and if we allow these thoughts to broaden we move away from God.The evil one begins to take a thread of our fears and makes it a cable of anxiety,depression or anger.
Joy is an uplifting pleasure which we have no control of.It makes us fly to new heights and unlike happiness is felt by our very soul.
Last night was such a moment for my husband and I.We went out to supper with friends and attended a very funny play at the Bradley Theater called "The Foreigner".
We had a great time and when we came out of the theater we all started doing impressions of lines from the play,which caught our fancy,for the amusement of each other.
Although this may have seemed slightly silly to some people this is what joyfulness is.It is not being afraid to be giddy and child like.
Jesus many times talks about joy and happiness but unfortunately some religious people feel such things are petty and sinful.
In my mind they are not!
God wants us to be happy.I believe he likes it when we act child like.Being religious should not mean seeing the dark and dismal side of life.Always sad,always in remorse,always weepy.Full of self loathing and despair at how unworthy we are.
God knows we are not worthy but he made us that way because that's what he wanted us to be.Living should not be a chore of sadness and unworthiness it should be taking the best of yourself and bringing it forward to the world.
God wants us to love each other but how can you do that if you are sad and furlong.
This play starts out with a man who says he has no personalty and by the end finds he gains one from the people around him.
We are bits and pieces of others sunshine which helps us become parts of their lives.The joy in being with each other is the joy we get and give to each other.
I think last night was proof of this and being joyful in the presence of others brings the light of God to each other whether we know it or not.