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Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

December 16, 2014

luckyWhen something seems too good to be true, it usually is, right?

I’ve posted in the past about how things happen to be going very well in my life right now. Great husband, great job, done with my education, getting to see the world, not having to worry about money, etc. In pretty much every way, I look around at my life and I know I am blessed beyond belief.

When I think about it more deeply, I also realize that my entire life has been pretty charmed. Raised in an upper-middle class, intact family, most things came easily to me, and I didn’t have any traumatizing experiences like a close relative or friend dying. In college, my parents paid my tuition, I made awesome friends like the Naughty Princesses, and I met the love of my life. What else can a girl ask for?

But the inner pessimist in me tends to get a bit uneasy when I look too closely at how lucky I have been. After all, the laws of probability would say that this kind of good fortune can’t last forever. Eventually, the other shoe is going to drop. My luck will run out. And there are times I am absolutely terrified of what that will look like.

There are just so many terrible things that can happen to a person in this world, and I’ve seen many of them at work in the lives of those around me. Loved ones killed in car accidents, miscarriages, losing a spouse or a child to cancer, becoming permanently disabled…All these things have happened to people I love, but not to me. I feel guilt and fear just writing those words. Who am I to be living a life of relative bliss, when so many others have suffered and are suffering?

If I got in a car and drove north for a couple of days, I would find myself in the midst of a war-zone, where people are being murdered for their faith, or for no reason at all. Young girls and women are being bought and sold as sex slaves. But here I am, safe, healthy, loved, and very much in a bubble.

When I allow myself to think about all this, I am very grateful. But I am also fearful, because I can imagine so many scenarios in which my “luck” runs out: my wayward brother commits suicide, one of my parents suffers a heart attack, my husband or I are diagnosed with a terrible disease. And the longer I live, the closer, it seems, I am to one of these scary possibilities becoming reality.

But, what can I do about this? Most of the things I fear the most are beyond my control. I don’t want to let paranoia rob me of what really has been one of the happiest seasons of my life. I have to trust that when trials come, I’ll be able to face them with strength. And I hope I can also be a good friend to those I know and love who are already dealing with the kind of pain and loss I can’t truly understand.

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