I stood at the Shell station filling my car. Up popped "the word for the day" on the tiny screen that people watch while pumping gas. Usually the screen is filled with mind-numbing ads or clips of political parody from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I'd never seen the "word of the day" before. "Wanderlust-- an innate and strong impulse to wander." I thought to myself, "Oh, that's what I'd do--wander right out of my life." It was the end of the day. My mind felt riddled with anxiety--so many things to figure out at work. Things I didn't have energy to figure out. I'd gotten a ticket for running a red light that morning on the way to work--distracted, not having slept well. The time change messes with me for about a week. The cop yelled at me. Harsh. Unfeeling. I guess cops have to be that way. The first traffic violation I've had in over thirty years. Doesn't matter. I broke the law.
I couldn't stop berating myself for being so careless. I remembered something I'd heard on a podcast a few days before. The speaker said that in his experience as a pastor, the one message that he believed people needed not only to hear repeatedly, but also to experience, is God's love for them. He said that he woud never tire of promoting the concept that God loves unconditionally. No shame. No condemnation. I didn't necessarily think of God when I listened to the podcast, but rather my husband. He is a person who I've never doubted loves me. A few years ago, a patient commented that I had crooked front teeth. (And my two front teeth are slightly off kilter). I felt self-conscious about the remark and told the story to my husband. He said, "You have beautiful teeth. Plus your teeth make you, you. I love every part of you."
I breathed easier when my husband said that--all the hurt and anxiety leaked out of me. I leaned into him and kissed him on the cheek. I wanted to stay in his presence.
I decided I would trust perfect love. I would practice "unlearning" fear and anxiety. I would stay in the light. God reminded me that I am not defined by circumstances. He reminded me that He views me as a strong woman. He emphasized for the thousandth time that there is no law against peace, no fear in perfect love. His love is not like the world--with all its noise and chaos and performance-based acceptance. I'd move forward in that light. Wander up the stairs of my life. Expect goodness.