Rainy Sidewalk Fireworks

Morning comes to the sidewalk. The long green grasses stretch their stalks in front of the grey cobblestone wall behind them. They tilt sideways, holding their pose in an elegant still-life ballet—perfectly confident—adorned with nothing but dewdrops.

The wildgrasses primly hold their brown tuft faces still, ignoring the rush of traffic on the wet pavement a few feet away as they perform their morning yoga.

People trudge by, clinging to their red Tim Horton’s coffee cups, their minds swirling with tasks and unaware of the zen moment occurring near their feet.

Amid the viridescent grasses, the dandelion puffs are tiny white fireworks, exploding with enthusiasm for the new day. Drunk on fresh rainwater, a perfectly organic energy source, the little lions laugh at the Starbucks across the road. No need for a cuppa joe here. They greet the world with bright-eyed grins.

The transformation of their blond manes to bursts of white worries them not a wit. They know nothing of paperwork, or headaches, or housework; nothing of gas prices, or housing markets, or wars. 

I want to lie down in the grass with them, the invigorating rain water soaking into my skin. If I shed enough worry, perhaps I’d become light enough to fly away with the dandelion seeds. Perhaps the little spinning helicopters and I could land somewhere softer than the harsh sidewalk under my feet.


Church attendance is up—

the parking lot is packed.

People wait with anxious faces,

day-worn and dreary in the early evening cold,

eager to receive the warm comfort

of a meal they didn’t make,

a bit of tender nourishment

amidst the hectic rush

and flow of pandemic worries…

I watch them as I walk by to pick up my daughter from ballet,

these people united though apart,

their cars waiting in line

at Church’s Chicken.

The Grace to be Present

I saw this quote online and it made me laugh to think how true it is:

Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.

Sometimes we think that it is a noble thing to worry, that it is somehow more responsible to worry than to trust. Perhaps we know that we shouldn’t really worry about whether or not a new haircut will turn out perfectly, but we fall into the trap of thinking that it is right to worry extensively about the things that do really matter, like whether or not we are a good enough parent. Surely in this matter we are justified in periodically raking ourselves over the coals…right?


While it is responsible to spend some time in reflection and planning, in setting goals and making small changes, this kind of beat-yourself-up worry can easily be more self-indulgent than useful, because it can lead to apathy and despair, instead of hope-inspired action.

Furthermore, while worry removes us emotionally and mentally, gratitude helps us to be present, to really experience the moment and the people we are with. Worrying when you are with someone is like the mental equivalent of texting at the table. How about instead of sitting worrying about whether you are a good enough parent, spouse, or friend, give your loved one a hug? The love of an imperfect person goes a really long way; after all, we all are!

5 things to do if you catch yourself sliding into a worry spiral:

1. Get up and do something. Take one small, concrete step towards the issue troubling you, and then try to let it go.

2. Work up a sweat. Go for a brisk walk, get down and scrub the floor (it’s hard to worry when huffing, puffing, and making your house shine) or get down and boogie. A little living room dance party does wonders for the soul.

3. Read something uplifting. Remember all the beautiful things happening in the world. Give thanks for what is going well, and try to trust that there is a good plan behind the things that, in your limited view, are not.

4. Call a friend. Ask them about their day. You’ll remember others have struggles, too, and yours will become a lot smaller. Just voicing your fears to a confidant will help them become less ominous, and you’ll likely receive the emotional boost you need along with some good laughs. Also, friends are good at telling you the things you already knew but forgot, and needed to hear from someone you love.

5. Pray. There’s no harm in asking for help, in letting the things beyond our control out of our tight grasp, in letting go so that something good can happen, something better even than what we imagined. Remember, “worrying is like praying for what you don’t want,” so instead, pray for you heart’s desires, for peace, wisdom and joy, for the hope to begin again each day with trust. As Anne of Green Gables’ lovely school teacher Miss Barry said, “Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it…Yet.” Just remember, making mistakes doesn’t disqualify you from being loveable, but worrying about your mistakes can prevent you from loving. Remember to be gentle with yourself, and that gentleness will extend to others.

And if all else fails, eat some chocolate and watch a funny movie! Or maybe do that part anyway…