God bless Lean Cuisine, my Director of Graduate Studies, and the Great State of North Carolina

...not necessarily in that order.

I started to write a post about today, but got uncomfortable with revealing so much of my neurotic and self-sabotaging behavior. Suffice to say that I was almost physically ill with stress this morning, and by this afternoon the two Big Deals that I had been tormenting myself about had either been resolved or evaporated.

Many people would read that as a parable of the pointlessness of worry, but I see it more as a testament of grace. Yes, obsessive worry to the point of paralysis was an unhelpful response, but I wasn't being irrational to be concerned about the Big Deals on my plate. Either or both could have, perhaps even should have, gone just as badly as I had feared. My stress, indeed, was compounded by the guilt of knowing that I had made both situations worse than they needed to be -- it would have served me right for things to go badly.

But they didn't. They fell together, in spite of myself. And I fell to my knees in gratitude.

I live in a constant mode of hyper-responsibility, which doesn't leave much space for things to be okay if I fail. And by "failure," of course, I mean "anything less than optimal performance." This, as you might well imagine, gets pretty tiring after 30 years. So I'm trying to switch to a more sustainable mindset. But old habits are hard to unlearn. That's why I need these moments of grace so much. I believe in some abstract sense that things are ultimately going to be okay, but it helps to see in concrete terms that they're okay today, too.

A wise man once said to keep your eyes open for grace when you need it the most -- there's no telling what form it will take, but it shouldn't be a surprise when you see it. That was today. A couple of Big Things, and then some inexplicably timed little things, went right today when I wasn't expecting it but certainly needed it. Thanks be to God.

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