teens and children in the snow gathered around a firepit

Anticipating Joy

“Anxiety is anticipated terror. Hope is anticipated joy.” I heard theologian Jürgen Moltmann say this to fellow theologian Miroslav Volf on a podcast a long time ago. 

For some reason, those words came to mind last week when I got the 6:30am call announcing that the 2-hour school delay would actually become a snow day. 

I’ve had a pattern for years of either panicking or getting super resentful in the face of snow days. (Not the first snow day, but once we’re well into the snow season and I just have THINGS TO DO and they will be disrupted and interrupted and I will feel guilty about letting the kids be on screens all day and also I will feel tired of arguing with them about creating their own fun and then I will wonder why I told them to create their own fun and that fun includes coming inside with drippy clothes and salty shoes and a desperate need for hot chocolate right now.)

Back to Moltmann.

That phone call sparked anxiety in me. So I asked myself, what am I afraid of? And what if, instead of fear, I anticipate joy today? What if I look out the window at the gentle white whisper landing on the trees as the sun rises behind the clouds? What if I expect joy with our kids—cooking a meal with Penny, seeing the sketches Marilee has created, listening to William play the piano? 

I’m learning more and more to notice my anxiety and get some distance from it. I’m learning practices of prayer and connection, but I’m also learning that letting go of anxiety is an act of trust. 

That right out the window, right here in the messy house and overflowing dishwasher and piles of laundry and ignored emails, there is beauty and love and goodness and laughter and meaning. There is great joy.

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