Fresh Ink 2004)
I have a friend who doesn’t
worry. We've been friends since we were teenagers. We had a child on the exact same day, same year. There is
nothing we do not know about one another, but in this one area, she is an enigma to me.
Another friend has nine
children and thirty-five grandchildren (at last count). She is always positive
and cheerful. She does not worry.
Are these women saints? Are they crazy? Or maybe they’re
rich and powerful and in control of their worlds? We can rule out the last two
choices, and although I personally think they are well on their way to sainthood, they modestly decline the title. They
simply choose not to worry and consequently, they are often quite happy.
Then there are the rest
Many years ago, someone
expressed admiration for how I handled my past and present, how I made my life work.
Just as I was beginning to bask in the pleasure of the compliment, he added, “Your weakness is worrying about
the future.” He was absolutely right.
I was a closet worrier.
In today’s world,
it may sound foolish to question why we worry. In our personal lives, alone,
we can list many reasons: health, money, careers, relationships, money, children,
parents, grandchildren, money. Did I mention money?
There is an understandable
belief that if we only had enough money, our worries would be over. Some days,
I believe that, too. When I get my perspective back, I look around at those with
a great deal of money and know that’s not the answer either. Some of my
affluent friends worry more about money than I do, albeit their concern is whether or not they will be able to go to Europe
I’m sure if I became
filthy rich, I would worry about losing it, or worry that it would make me less caring, compassionate, empathetic, etc. Believe it or not, I actually did worry about such things when I was young.
I inherited my worry habit
from my grandmother. We were very close, and I called her every day. Every day, she answered the phone with the words, “Is anything wrong?” Every day I assured her I was fine. This scenario never changed. I think she was afraid that if she didn’t anticipate disaster, it would catch
As I grew older, I adopted
my grandmother’s “worry wand” to ward off evil spirits. I noticed
that nothing I ever worried about happened. It was the unexpected, the out-of-the-blue
problem that occurred, so subconsciously, I probably decided that worrying about those I loved would keep them safe—loving
but flawed reasoning.
For a while now, I've
been working on my “weakness," and although I have yet to achieve sainthood status, I have come up with a solution
for myself. I schedule time to worry. I
don’t worry about paying bills until the first of the month, which means money doesn’t prey on my mind for at
least three weeks. I don’t worry about my friends, children or grandchildren
until they give me specifics. I don’t worry about my health until
I get sick.
Other things I don't
concern myself about at all. For example, I don’t worry any more if
people like me. I don’t even worry about dying, because of my spiritual
The above schedule leaves
me with an amazing amount of time free of worry. Each morning, I wake up and
mentally check my schedule. If worrying isn’t on it, I relax and gratefully enjoy the day. When it is, I substitute
praying for worrying.
I can manage this non-worrying
schedule with only two daughters, three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.
If I had thirty-five grandchildren…? A saint, the woman is definitely