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Stress is good for you? Hot damn!

The Wall Street Journal, today and a few months back, is telling its readers how good stress is for you: Many workplace wellness programs have also begun coaching people to hit "the optimal performance zone"—with enough stress "to be stimulating, to focus you, to challenge you".

Let me tell you: I'm going to be freakin' AMAZING if all this is true.

In just the past few months alone, I've dealt with the death of a pet, one kid bailing on college, another kid trying darn hard to get kicked out of high school due to grades, learning I have arthritis in my neck (really??), a horrible trauma to my daughter and her subsequent hospitalization, driving enormous amounts of miles on weekends to visit said daughter....the list goes on. Again, if stress is good, then I must have super powers by this point.

Except I don't. I'm tired and sometimes really cranky and I hurt physically, emotionally, spiritually - as does the rest of my family.

But here we are. I don't know anything about biofeedback and all the studies mentioned in the WSJ article, but I do know about faith. And frankly, it's the only reason I'm still functioning.

I don't mean to be flippant about this. After my daughter was assaulted in January - and for months afterwards - I was not on good terms with God. I wasn't really speaking to him. And when I did, I wasn't saying such nice things. I knew (to the very depths of my soul) that what had happened was not God's "fault", but I needed someone to yell at, and He was the only one big enough to handle all the crap - the stress, if you will - that I needed to off-load.

The point is not that I have been faithful to God, but that He has been faithful to me.

He waited me out. He let me yell and scream. He put people around me who supported me, who lent a hand with my daughter, led me down paths that were helpful and filled with care. He helped Dear Husband and I make hard, but correct, decisions.

The stress is still there, and frankly, I'm not buying the Wall Street Journal approach that it's good for you. It's hard and it hurts. But if it moves us closer to God, then so be it.

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.
-Saint Rose of Lima

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.