Panic Attack

I step into The Confessional (kind of)

Opening Essay

Sometimes I think that the only thing that can save us are the stories of other people. That there are times when the only thing that can find us in the dark is the light of another person’s story. It is an old and unbeatable medicine – that we can  find ourselves in the words of another. Our stories are torches, the light of which helps us feel less afraid. People who speak honestly about their lives are the people who have most often rescued me in time of peril.

I don’t know when I first heard The Moth Radio Hour on NPR, those true stories told live and without notes and in front of an audience-  it just always has seemed like when I needed it, I would turn on the radio and there it was. And I would feel myself being found by the story of a stranger. Which is to say, I would feel less alone, which is basically the one thing I have wanted most in life.

So there are very few things in my life I am prouder of than my partnership with The Moth – with whom I create this podcast. Go to THE MOTH to get found. And also you totally don’t have to wait till you hear them on the radio – you can subscribe to The Moth podcast wherever you are listening to this one right now.

So…all of this is to say,  Today on The Confessional, I’m offering a story I told on stage at The Moth in New York City in the Summer of 2015. Called Panic Attack in Jericho. It is a story about having a hidden anxiety disorder, but really, it’s about having my heart of stone ripped out of my chest, and replaced again with something warm and beating, like an emotional heart transplant.

Click here to listen!

A Blessing For The Human Heart

(from a lesson I learned having had a panic attack (In Jericho) in front of 30 super nice Lutherans from Wisconsin)

Fellow human,

Let’s just agree that our hearts are such messy, complicated things, and that clichés and greeting card sentiments don’t even get close to the actual reality of them.

So, the most honest blessing I can offer is, may you find yourself surprised by your very own heart.

May you sense it hurting for people you don’t even like very much.

May you feel it loving something entirely unlikely.

And when your heart is full, may you not miss it all by wondering when it will break again

May you welcome it home when it has gone off and given pieces of itself to that which can never love it back.

May it reintroduce itself to you. 

And may you discover it is healing from the things you used to think would destroy it.


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