gospel

Panic Blanket

She gripped the pink and yellow remains with both tiny hands. A little corner stuck out just above her thumb where she nervously bit to calm down. Ripping tearing thrashing by her own hand, the anxiety was too much to keep inside. That faded fabric barley covered her trembling body. But the routine of it all comforted her. The familiar weight of embrace relaxed her tension. The panic that attacks eventually loosened its hands from inside her throat. She could breathe again.

But when she grew too tall and mature for that infantile tool of survival, the panic didn’t seem to leave her alone. Making her sick in the middle of the night, squeezing her heart after an announcement on the news, stalking her even though she knew better now. Fear and dread followed her, lurking in the shadows, whispering of those things she would never control.

Often her panic was quite personal. An isolated incident in her individual experience. It was no big deal, this is your overreaction, this too shall pass. Repeating this script, she had learned to cope when longing to hide under that panic blanket in her memories. She would take comfort in the calm around her, even if it was not how she felt. She would watched the world spin on and assumed she probably would too.

But one day, it was different. Panic and terror from the external world began to press down. Everywhere she looked, something else was falling apart. No longer was the panic only bubbling up from her own soul, but the age-old mountains were tumbling into the sea. It was no longer her personal battle against the panic that attacks from inside, but now everyone was caught up in a war with the unknown.

Strangely, this has always been the situation. The enemy of death and uncertainty has been standing over us all since the beginning of time. But every once in a while, the masses get to feel it. Every so often in the course of history, the enemy exposes his face to the public eye. The fear is justified. The panic is real.

But that blanket has been long forgotten. Outgrown, destroyed, scoffed and shamed. Opiate for the weak, they say. A crutch that can hinder the strong. So the child-like vehicle of comfort, of warmth, of physical security has been tossed aside, ripped to pieces, and buried in the ground. 

The fear is justified. The panic is real. But a blanket still wraps us in comfort and stills the shivers even now. As the planet heaves and scrambles, we rest. As the crowds rush the stores and lock their doors, we are calm. Swaddled tightly by the promises of a new earth and a resurrection, we smile. Covered completely by the blood of the Risen Christ, we can breathe again.

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