It was the summer before COVID.
Or maybe it was two summers before COVID. I won’t know until it pops up on Facebook memories.
Camping at Indian Creek, Logan and I were enjoying the beach while Connor and Shawn fished in another area.
I had arranged myself in the sand on a towel and Logan was playing with a football we brought. It was the only beach toy he wanted and had played with it nonstop since we got there, but made the mistake of getting out of the water to tell me something and left the ball floating.
When he returned to the water a woman, two teenagers, and a little kid had taken over the ball.
He so sweetly walked up (not mentioning it was his ball) and asked if he could play with them.
They looked right at him and said no. I fully expected the woman to correct them and invite him into their game, but she didn’t. She just continued to throw my kid’s ball back and forth while Logan watched from afar.
He looked like he was about to cry and I was shocked. Then I was angry.
He sat there and watched, and then his shoulders slumped as he walked back up to me.
"I will just wait until they are done with it, Mom."
If you know me, then you know I'm a pushover sometimes. If that was just my ball then I probably would have sadly walked away rather than attempt confrontation, but they were making my kid cry.
Nope — just NOPE.
I got up from my beach spot, got into the cold water, and waded over to the mom in the middle of their game.
“Hi,” I said. “Did you bring that ball with you today?”
She said they had found it in the water, and was not extremely nice about it either.
"Okay,” I responded. “Well that's his ball. He wants to play catch."
They begrudgingly allowed him into their game, which I let go on for less than five minutes before I yelled.
"Get your ball, Logan. It’s time to go!"
He grabbed his ball out of the water, and I fumed all the way to the car. And then got more angry the entire ride back to the campsite.
In fact, I allowed it to mess up my entire night.
Just like that, what should have been a wonderful evening with my family became sitting by the fire with a fake smile and a racing mind and heart. Because I just couldn’t leave that situation at the beach. I brought it back with me.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
What if I overreacted? What if we see them at the beach again tomorrow? I’m pretty sure that mom can take me.
A lot of my anxiety and stress is self-inflicted because sometimes I just can’t let things go. Whether it’s my fault or someone else's, I analyze it again and again to make sure that every single thing I did and said was right.
But it never is, so there’s no good ending there. Instead it’s just a night of overthinking until falling asleep an hour before the alarm goes off.
Then while I wander around at work like a zombie in dress pants, I suddenly realize that whatever I was freaking out about wasn’t that big of a deal after all. Despite the ridiculous thing I said or did, the world is still turning and my life did not fall to ruin.
Huh. Who knew?
Well, God knew. The whole time I was tossing and turning, He knew that everything was going to be just fine. But I didn’t ask Him, I just let my mind go rogue.
The thing is though, we have a God who cares about every aspect of our life, including our anxiety. That’s just amazing to me.
“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Psalm 94:19
Sometimes He leads us to still waters for rest, and sometimes He leads us to the doctor to get medication. A lot of times He does both. No matter what the right answer is, He is waiting for us to ask Him.
As for our camping weekend, after a night of worry, we never ran across the family again.
And I guess that’s a good thing because I was irritated, but I was also still pretty sure that mom could take me.