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I account my woes anatomically. I know that churning feeling in my stomach is worry — worry about my sister who is suffering, and my mother who, like me, holds her troubles inside instead of hanging them out for everyone to see, like a clothesline of consternation. It makes my mother unwell, too, and at her age, that’s a problem. Me, I’m young. I’ve got plenty of years of worry left in me.

I keep thinking about Psalm 22, particularly the line that says, “I can count all my bones.” I would have to be considerable thinner to count my bones, but I still relate to the line. My problems are under my skin, so deep that sometimes I forget them. My stomach hurts, so I must be worried about something. What was it? Oh yeah. Count those bones.

And yes, I know, worry is an unnecessary emotion. I think SueBE once said, “It’s like praying for something you don’t want.” Not just a waste of time, but self-defeating, too. I don’t want to pray for something I don’t want. But try telling my stomach that.

It’s not easy shifting faith from soul to tummy. My tummy doesn’t reason well, for one thing. But then I recall that Psalm 22 doesn’t say, “Just stop worrying.” It says, “Get it out.” Yell! Cry! Craft insane metaphors about bulls that are really like lions! Call on God because you can. You don’t have to suck it all in.

So that’s what I’m gonna do. Hey! God! I know there’s not that much on my plate, not compared to many other people who are suffering far more than I. But I’m small, and I’m selfish, and I’m scared. You, of all people, know that. So please, send me some succor. Soothe my sore tummy with some answers and a big ol’ splash of hope. And help my mom and my sis and all the rest of us who internalize our troubles to give up hoarding and let them all out. There’ll be an awful racket, but you have big ears. You can handle it.

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Have a Mary Little Christmas

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