We are always on the verge of something. Sometimes, we are on the verge of great things. Other times, the verge of collapse. Still other times, the verge of sameness. There is always a future, just up ahead, which cannot be known until it gets here. In the mean time, we make our best predictions.

I have been working hard to move my business to another location. Yesterday, a large package arrived containing two small chairs. My new office is smaller than my current one and I’m needing to downsize some of my furniture. The package arrived just as I was leaving the house for work. I decided to carry the package down my front steps, which are concrete.

The box was not heavy but it was large and it blocked my view of my feet, which were at the time, shod in high heels. I missed the step and felt myself falling forward toward our front walk, which is also concrete. In that split second, I knew that I was on the verge of being hurt but I did not yet know how badly.

Fortunately, I was able to stand up right away afterwards. I looked down at the 3 by 6 inch scrape starting on my right knee and could see that I was on the verge of bleeding. So I walked into the house, cleaned myself up, and three Band-aid’s later, stopped the leaking.

Today, I am sore. I twisted my left ankle, which was painful during the night, but I was able to go on my walk today. It hurt a little but I could also tell that walking was stretching my muscles a bit in a good way. Phew! My big scrape may elicit comments from my patients tomorrow (yes, I know it is winter but it is not yet cold enough to wear pantyhose or tights with my dresses) but I appear to have suffered no lasting damage.

Most of the time our lives on the verge are this way. Most of the time, we avert crises. Most of the time, really horrible things don’t happen to most people, at least in this part of the world. And yes, I know that lots of bad things, too many bad things, happen in the U.S., but remember, these bad things are considered news. There’s a reason for that. They don’t happen most of the time.

When really bad and scary things happen, it hurts our foundation of security. It puts us on watch. It puts us feeling on the verge of calamity a lot more often than is realistic. And the thing about anxiety is that it is reinforced when we fret and the bad thing doesn’t happen. Phew, that fretting was so effective at averting crisis! Anxiety is also increased when we fret and the bad thing DOES happen. See, I told you a bad thing was going to happen.

It is no wonder that anxiety problems are so common. And it is no wonder that they are so tenacious for those of us who have had trauma in our lives. Lately, I have been feeling not in the front of my mind but in the back of it, on the verge of something bad happening. I have worries for my family and for my friends.

There are some bad things I can head off at the pass. There are others I cannot. There are others, like cancer, that sneak in like a thief, stealing more and more every day without my knowing. I do my best to choose to live my life, all of my life. I choose to believe that I can be on the verge of many things, many of them joyful and loving.

And if I were on the verge of something awful, wouldn’t it be a waste not to enjoy this short time of calm security?