I understand and castigate this behavior alternately. Of course, no one wants to deal with a frightening or difficult situation. Everyone would just as soon avoid pain, but what does my whimpering say about me? Surely God would not give me a problem I could not handle. Surely God would carry me through the worst possible calamity. I know this. I believe this. So what's my problem? Why can't I say, "Let come what may?" Don't I trust God as I should?

This bothers me profoundly. I like to think my faith is strong, that it's made of Kevlar, not tissue. And it's not as though I've not been tested. It's just that the tests in my life thus far have not been all that bad. (Granted, that's a matter of perspective: I read somewhere that if you could choose to put down your troubles and take up someone else's instead, you'd never do it. This is certainly true for me. My burdens are familiar; I know where they fit, how best to tote them.)

For my eighth birthday I received a book called Christmas Carol about a girl named Carol who was born on Christmas and who was sweet and good and blonde and gentle and of course faced an early death with saint-like stoicism. I was born on Christmas, too. Were my parents trying to tell me something? Because I couldn't be like Carol. I couldn't be that good. If there was some sort of bar of expectation I was supposed to soar over due to the blessings of my natal anniversary, I was going to fail miserably.

I've never quite gotten over that feeling of failure.

Every time I start to worry, I compound it with the fear that I'm not living up to my faith, but that's life, isn't it? Struggle. Worry. A journey to some sort of ultimate, personal truth?

Perhaps one day I will be old enough and wise enough to say, as a child once did, "Better me than one of the other kids."

"Help me."
I seem to say that a lot.
You must be tired of my constant pleas.
Yet You remain as close as my shadow
as constant as breathing.
You spoil me with your constancy.
How good of You to favor each one of us
as though we are an only child,
Your ear tuned to the particular pitch
of each of our cries.
Mother, Father, Friend:
Thank You for listening.

-Lori Strawn

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