The Anchor

I’ve been thinking about anchors lately- ever since my dad spoke to me one day about people needing an anchor for their souls. Sometimes a family member is hurting badly and there’s nothing you can do.  Sometimes your spouse just doesn’t get you. Sometimes there isn’t enough money. Sometimes you are simply overwhelmed by all the evil in this world. What do you hold on to when life gets stormy? That’s your anchor.

When confronted with unpleasant thoughts and emotions or life’s unhappy circumstances, I’ve tended to cling to a certain anchor that makes me feel good temporarily but in the end leaves me tossing out of control on the waves. I’m talking about fantasy. I’m an only child, and yes, I did have imaginary friends, and no, I’m not telling you anymore about it so don’t ask. But seriously, long after I’d stopped talking with my imaginary friends, I spent a lot of time and mental energy creating worlds in my head that I felt were better than the real one. My beloved books and movies, which I devoured constantly, filled my head with all sorts of ideas. I imagined I was a princess, misunderstood and unheralded, until a perfect prince came along and fell in love with me…

Now that I’m older, I fantasize a lot about food (fast food, ice cream, Hostess products) which I just know will make me happy. I think about that bacon cheeseburger I’m going to reward myself with. But even more than food, I fantasize about all those interactions with people that should have gone better. I have long, involved conversations in my mind. I imagine detailed scenes in which I do and say what I should have done and said in real life. In these conversations I am eloquent yet often scathing- to others and to myself. I relish the initial feeling of justification, but I end up more anxious than before.

The more I escape into my head, the more impatient I become with others. Rather than deal with people or messy emotions, my default is to get a Dairy Queen Blizzard and dive into The Lord of the Rings. There is a lack of peace and a feeling of emptiness when I use food or fantasy or books to run away from events or people or myself. Now don’t get me wrong- these things are not always bad in and of themselves; they just don’t make very good anchors.

What I need, what we all need, is a true anchor for our souls, one that won’t leave us dissatisfied in the end. If you’ve ever been to Sunday school or listened to some sermons, you might have heard that the vertical and horizontal pieces of the cross represent God and man respectively. I think it is very fitting that an anchor is basically shaped like a cross. Did you ever notice that? I only did when I started writing this post and was thinking about including an image of an anchor. : )

anchor

I’ve found that my relationships with God and people (a few in particular) are a true anchor for me. More on this later…

 

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