My name is Caroline Margarete Dost, and I'm scared.
I don't know why I'm sitting here and writing this. My time would arguably be much better spent reading today's assigned articles for Principles of Sociology (of course, I still have over an hour to do that) or, better yet, studying for one or both of this week's midterms. But I want to write, and I want to do so before this little thought has the chance to leave my mind forever.
I'm scared about a lot of things. I've spent the last month being scared about almost everything. I'm scared because I don't always feel in control. I'm scared because my mind has a tendency to race ahead of me and take me to places I really don't want to go. I'm constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing or failing at basic human interaction, because I'm terrified of what other people might think of me. I care deeply, so deeply about the things that happen in the world around me, and I'm so scared of that backfiring.
The beauty of caring deeply is that, when I'm happy, I'm so incredibly happy and everything is wonderful. But I'm scared of how deeply I feel things, because although it's great when it's joy I'm feeling, it's not great at all when it's something like fear. That kind of fear is paralyzing.
Someone once told me that the human soul doesn't stop where our bodies end. It's bigger than that. It extends a little further out, radiating light and love out of us. Some people's souls go out a bit further than others, and these are the ones who empathize very deeply with the world around them, because they're more sensitive to what others are feeling. They're easily influenced by the moods of others, because their souls reach out to feel everything.
I like to think this explains my predicament rather nicely. "My soul yearns to know what people carry in their hearts" sounds much prettier than "I'm touchy and overly emotional." So if we're going with the soul thing, I guess I could make the argument that my particularly high level of anxiety and general fear that I'm currently experiencing is actually because everyone is anxious right now because it's midterms season. I'm just trying to walk to class, and meanwhile my soul is cozying up with everyone else's and saying Oh, you're feeling stress? Here, let me have some, too. Sharing is caring!
Yesterday with Wesley, we walked down to Colonial Williamsburg and sat on the Palace Greens. We talked about Romans 12:15 and sharing our joys and concerns with one another. We're not meant to carry these burdens alone. There was something strangely soothing about being off campus for once, even if it was only just barely off campus. We emerged from our little college bubble and entered a world of tourists and colonial re-enactors. We saw people living their lives without the threat of midterms hanging overhead. We saw people that we didn't know but that, somehow, we are already connected to. We're all children of the same God. We're here for each other.
It's okay that I'm scared. I'm allowed to be scared. But I'm not alone. We were made in love by a God who loves us more than we can ever know. So let's remain in love, with life, with each other, with ourselves. We're here for each other, to love each other. And that's a really lovely thought.
Peace be with you.