American Anxiety

Anxiety is something I understand and have experienced in spurts lately. But I have never had chronic anxiety that seems to be present in daily life for so many. A couple of things hit me this past weekend while flying back from a trip to the Holy Land. Anxiety can come from hour long lines at the airport, 4 or 8-hour flights back to back and even from crying babies on board the jet. But as I looked around I noticed people reading, placing EarPods, grabbing pillows and going off to sleep before the plane left the ground. I can’t sleep well on a plane, I am always afraid I will drool or snore. I guess I am anxious about that. But the more I looked around the more I came to see that nearly each person on the plane had a personal system for dealing with the situation, or at least it looked that way.
It was a joy to travel with many folks who were over age 70. One of them was reading a Reader’s Digest magazine. At first I have to admit, I thought how old school. Just this week Glamour Magazine announced the end of their glitzy print copy. I have never read Glamour but I thought it was sad to see something disappear that may have been just the distraction needed to calm our nerves in a doctors office or on an airplane. And here was this little lady reading a magazine founded in 1922 and she seemed to be enjoying every minute of it. Our world continues to speed up, apparently get more crass and in need of proving something, almost everything on social media. Simple things that kept us grounded turn into another electronic device or app. Maybe we should push ourselves to find quiet time in meditation and prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Maybe we should just breath. I want to tell Fox, CNN and MSNBC to just breath. And maybe, just maybe it is time to reach for an ancient book or old school magazine and chill out as the big chill comes home this winter. I read this great article about anxiety this morning. You may enjoy it.