OMG, I missed March 9 – National Panic Day!

As hard as I try to pay attention to my Chase’s calendar to keep up on special designation days, they sometimes pass by me with alarming speed. I can’t keep up with the constant assault of unnecessary information continually coming my way. Occasionally, I have to get off Facebook, Instagram and the Internet in general to take care of non-digital (aka “real”) life in all its non-dramatic splendor. That must be when National Panic Day sneaked past.

My first reaction to having missed it? A sharp intake of breath, followed by a shrill shriek of “OMG, I missed National Panic Day.” My heart beat like crazy, I broke out in a sweat and felt all shaky and nauseous. I was overcome with a sense of dread. My panties bunched up on their own. I couldn’t shake the fear I had lost all control and something really bad was going to happen. In other words, I experienced extreme panic (is there any other kind!?) at missing National Panic Day.

Although I suspected some kind of underground conspiracy at play, I had to acknowledge part of this might have been due to my inability to locate my “Keep Calm and Drink Coffee” insulated travel mug. Granted, the concept is an oxymoron, as caffeine is one of the first things complainers of anxiety are instructed to remove from their diets, but at least the “keep calm” sentiment showed positive expectancy.

The original “keep calm and carry on” phrase spoofed by the mug was uttered by that 20th Century king of calm, Winston Churchill, who remained unflinching before his country and the world during the extreme adversity experienced during WWII. If calm was good enough for Churchill, it should suit me fine.

Overall, I’m not a reactionary person, especially in the workplace, where I know no good will come of flying off the handle or into a tizzy. I’ve kept my cool through personnel casualties, program failures, budget shortfalls, resource droughts and logistical nightmares; however, I’m much more likely to be reactive when I am at home and it’s my personal property or finances on the line. For instance, when someone recently left on an iron upstairs and it melted through a hard plastic file box and would have caused a fire had I not accidentally discovered it. Churchill might have melted down along with me on that one.

If that were classified as panicking, I certainly chose the right day. It happened March 9: National Panic Day. The folks at foresaw my right to panic:

“Imagine a whole day devoted to what most of us do every morning, at least Monday to Friday. With deadlines looming, alarm clocks failing and traffic jamming, panic comes naturally, yet we’re expected to quell out natural urges, take a deep breath and carry on regardless. No more! Panic Day is the day to let rip and succumb to the terror, giving free reign to this much suppressed emotion. Flap your arms and scream, run around in circles if it helps, or just stay in bed quivering with your head under the pillow.”

It’s tempting, isn’t it, to either hide or totally lose your head to circumstances. As we approach the one-year anniversary of my then 13-year-old daughter’s devasting heart infection, stroke and related medical fallout, I can recall the ongoing temptation to drown in swirling adversity.

What’s the difference between adversity and plain, old crappy circumstances? It’s when we allow fear to infiltrate an unfortunate situation. In the words of the late New York writer Christian Nevell Bovee (1820-1904), “Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination,” Bovee was considered an epigrammatic writer, someone who observed interesting truths with sarcasm or wit.

Like the dead guy said, there’s no greater enemy than what our thoughts can generate. However, just when I most want to kill or somehow exorcise my imagination, I realize another option: Psalm 55:22 (NIV), “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you: he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Now “all” I’ve got to do is work on the righteous part. I’ll get right on that. Heaven, help me.


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