Anxiety and the Vanishing Fireflies

Fireflies by VivzMindDo you remember the magic of catching fireflies as a child? Memories of catching them came back a few nights ago as I was walking Hunter and the fireflies were just rising from the ground.  It was beautiful, but also sad as it occurred to me that my anxiety robbed me of some of the magic in recent years.

How?  Many years ago I noticed a few fireflies slipped into my apartment.  Being curious, I took a closer look at one of them and began to notice details about their bodies, the markings on their legs, segmentation of their body. At that moment they magic began to fade and I started looking at the firefly as just another dirty bug. The thought of catching one – not so appealing anymore.

Oh, they are still beautiful to watch from afar but the desire to touch them was gone – just another bug.  Why? Because I looked too closely and the wonder of this incredible creature slipped away.

It’s much the same in our daily lives. Sometimes we look a bit too closely at the world around us rather than taking things at face value and as a result cause needless worry or loss of joy. For example:

  1. We hear an ambiguous – perhaps innocent – comment from a co-worker, friend or family member and begin to study it for any hidden meaning, often generating needless worry for ourselves.
  2. We attend a brilliant magic show and begin to puzzle out how certain tricks were done. It’s fun at first as we speculate but once the secret has been discovered the magic is lost.

While the second example is common, it’s the first that can eat away at us. Those of us prone to anxiety regularly deal with situations (real or imagined) that may or may not lead to problems down the road. In an effort to prepare for the worst we imagine scenario after scenario and how we might react to each. Someone once told me it was my way of trying to feel as if I were in control.

In most cases the situation warrants only a cursory glance and a few thoughts about next steps – nothing more.  Could something go wrong? Sure, but to avoid needless anxiety we need to 1) not look so closely as to tie ourselves up in knots and 2) have faith – in God, ourselves, our friends and family – that when action is needed we can rise to the occasion to meet it.

So as you go about your routine this week, try to enjoy the moments as they happen and don’t puzzle over them too much.

Fireflies by CrushedSilence

Top Image Credit: VivzMind

Lower Image Credit: CrushedSilence

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