If you are, who needs a tall, frosty glass of Lipton's ice tea? Instead I have a super-nifty idea to release all that tension.
Head over to Coolidge Park on the north shore of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga and take a ride on the carousel.
With the wind in your face and carnival music blaring as you sit astride of one of many of the beautiful locally carved animals, you will soon begin to feel the tenseness slip away.
I can also recommend a Friday night spent at a Sacred Sounds concert at the Ringgold Depot. An evening spent with emcee Randall Franks and the talented gospel groups that perform on the second Friday of each month is guaranteed to make a new person out of you.
And if you enjoy that, stick around for the sounds of bluegrass the following evening. There is nothing like a good banjo or mandolin interlude to lift your spirits.
We all have stress in our lives — some caused by business, others by family situations or just dealing with friends. The difference comes in how we deal with it.
You might want to use one of the methods I mentioned above. Or, if you desire, spend a few moments in the Good Book or on your knees in prayer. Those are two methods I can pretty much guarantee will satisfy.
Offering a hand to our friends or family members going through such trials is also a good thing. Many times a smile or a friendly inquiry can do the trick. Don't believe that? Then just think back to when you were going through a rough patch and someone reached out to you.
It was a good thing. Right?
I know there are times when we all think we can do it on our own and maybe you can. But I also know it can wear us out trying to do so. The Beatles had an answer when they sang, "When you find yourself in times of trouble, Mother Mary come to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be..."
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. God has an answer too: "Come unto me all those who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest."
Let's face it, we all have times of stress or challenges.
Maybe it's work-related — either too much or not any at all. In our current economy one is more likely to be stressed looking for that next paycheck.
Life has its own little checklist of stressors, too.
What with marriage being a key area in most of our lives, it has its own set of issues — unfortunately. I don't have the statistics, but I think it is evident that our nation must lead in the rate of divorce among all countries worldwide.
Children, lovely and lovable as they are, present a stress level all their very own. Between first dates and proms, the time between the first day of pre-school and graduation, we parents have a heavy load to bear.
Hopefully, you have laid a groundwork of good over evil in their early days to help combat all of the new influences they will run into during the teen years. Of course, many of those influences are now accosting our kids at ages much earlier than in "our" day.
Pastor Tony Walliser, of Silverdale Baptist Church, hit the nail on the head when he preached a couple of Sundays ago that "when we replaced prayer with police officers we were definitely on the wrong track."
As a country we have gone from being One Nation Under God to being the leader in the world's immorality —something that is due and bound to stress many of us to the "nth" degree.
How do we de-stress our stressors? Stephen and Alex Kendrick, makers of the movies "Fireproof" and "Courageous," tell us that honor begins at home.
I am a firm believer that if we make that happen, we have fought half the battle. But, unlike some, I also think that we need honorable communities — communities that pray together and worship together; communities that take a moral interest in our kids as a whole; communities like the one I grew up in where parents looked out after the neighbor's kids; communities where the Bible, the Pledge and prayer co-exist with reading, writing and arithmetic in our schools.
This whole "separation of church and state," which by-the-by is not mentioned anywhere in our Constitution, stresses me out. Our founding fathers were men of prayer who brought in a chaplain to pray before each session of the Constitutional Convention when framing this great document.
I do understand the framer's mindset when it came to not establishing a government religion. After all, that is what they were running from.
But the whole idea of dropping any and all reference to God in our government affairs scares me. Our country was founded on and has thrived upon these beliefs for so many years that to think we can get by without God in our current state is preposterous.
If ever we needed God in our government and communities it is now. Don't believe it, just look around at the shape we are in. Where are the God-fearing men when it comes to sustaining our democracy and the words, "In God we trust?"
I am confused and I am stressed. But, like the carousel, I keep moving forward, sometimes going up and sometimes going down.
The carousel is pretty much like our lives in a microcosm.
Just like taking a ride on one, we are all moving forward; some going up, some going down. But all the time moving forward. The hint here is to keep moving forward, it's the backing up that will get you in trouble.
If you're going through a time of trouble, feeling destitute or all alone, remember we're all on the carousel together. Look for me, I'm the guy riding the big green rabbit.
God bless …
Dennis Norwood is a reporter for The Catoosa County News. He can be reached at email@example.com.