when you’re in need of a bit of real stress relief

We’re racing home from music lessons and my mind’s scream racing too.

Pressure cooker will be whistling with the roast. I’ll have to scrub up the spuds as soon as I get in the door.

Boys math. Littlest, phonograms. Then slip in another load of laundry and hang the wet on the racks while the potatoes boil and check answers on fractions and division, make next appointment for the orthodontist, do some follow up with the memorization ministry, see if Farmer Husband called the vet and when he’s coming.

Just breathe.

February’s this whisper of white.




We’re coming down the hill, curving round at Bobby Johnson’s corner and I exhale, let it all go.

Stress isn’t a situation. Stress is a state of mind.”

Am I the only one who preaches aloud to myself?

Who talks myself down…

And a state of mind is — taking captive every wandering thought. Why not make all these worries obedient to Christ, the very Person of Peace?”

I’m slowing down after the bend, there by the Lutheran Church next to the woods, its white steeple and darkened bell stark against a winter sky. The wooden white Cross at the steeple’s peak is outlined by the scudding of clouds, grey and low.

Stress deceives: Life is not an emergency.

The winds wind through the cemetery on the far side of the country church and I’m thinking:

Doesn’t urgency over everything imply that God’s in control of nothing?

Or do we secretly like blustering about perpetually stressed — because I suppose it’s evidence of the pressing importance of the work I am doing? And yet — if I’m on edge, doesn’t that mean I’m not centered in Him?

I slow to pass through a hamlet of a handful of houses, the grain elevators at the edge of hardly-village.

The musicians in the back seat loudly sing scales and I rowdily join in, feel myself scaling down, tension draining way.

Christ singing to me… Abandon stresses; abide in your Savior.

I’m thinking how stress isn’t a function of environment but a function of thinking patterns, and how to happily abide and lean back into Him and I turn at our gravel sideroad and look up and see it, perched there atop the hydro lines, right there in February winds bearing down.

A cat on a wire!

Startling visual in the middle of the sermon!

And living his ninth life, a cat on a wire unravels real life, where there really are no emergencies and why be ruffled in a blasting gale and maybe it’s just this: The best stress reliever is to be deaf to the deceiver.

What does a cat hear at the top of the pole, tail curled around like a muffler?


edited post from the archives