One of the benefits of being an editor for these reflections is that I get to see what everyone is writing before they are published.
Earlier this week, Jenn Yi wrote something that really struck deeply within me. In Jenn’s reflection on what it means to be welcomed into the community at UUCG each week, we read:
I have learned that what my anxiety tells me can’t always be trusted.
That speaks to me on several levels. First, what a powerful reminder to all of us that when anxiety is speaking to us (and it does, to all of us, at various times), that voice of anxiety may not be the final voice we want to trust. Anxiety arises in us because something about the current situation is reminding us of other situations in our past that did not go well. Our bodies and minds begin to prepare for bad things to happen. We become anxious. And, let’s be honest: if a truly bad thing is about to happen, we want to be ready to do what we need to do to take care of ourselves. But, that leads to the next way Jenn’s observation speaks to me: trust.
I need to trust my best voice, and while anxiety provoking experiences from the past may protect me from something bad right now, they may also just cloud and confuse my experience right now. We’ve all been caught there, haven’t we? How do I know what to do right now if this is reminding me of bad things from the past? Then, a friendly heart steps in and says “welcome, friend.” Anxiety melts. Trust steps forward.
Jenn’s reflection reminded me that none of us can do this human thing alone. There are times when I need your friendly welcome because I am having trouble trusting myself. And we never know when someone is having one of those moments. In light of that, leading with a friendly, trustworthy welcome is powerful stuff.