The more I get to know myself, the more I’ve learned that I have been a person who can not leave worries behind me. I’ve clutched them as though they were “my precious” and carried them in my purse at all times. And if could be out for coffee with a friend, on a date with my husband, or experiencing an otherwise rare moment of solitude, I would open my purse and peek to make sure they’re still safely kept inside.
Perhaps I’m not alone in this?
It occurred to me the other day as I prepared to board an airplane with my husband and children to fly out West for the first time as a family this summer, that I might even have anxiety.
With a quickly beating heart, I called my sister the night before the trip. “I think I may have a touch of anxiety…about certain things.” The licensed therapist that she is, and all knowing sister, she responded compassionately with only a hint of sarcasm, “really?” My husband (whose patience is unrivaled by anyone I know) had a similar reaction.
What would it change, I wondered in the airport the next day, if I proclaimed to everyone on the airplane with a song and dance (complete with jazz hands) that I worry about things and people in my life which I can not change? What would I achieve? Would my problems disappear? Would I free fall in the relief of an honest confession? Would I triumph over everything if I could only put a name to the knotted feeling in my stomach? Would everyone on board give me a standing ovation?
Fortunately, I didn’t try to find out.
The truth is, we all worry about things, to varying degrees. But there is a difference between ongoing “what if’s” and those which can serve a purpose…the ones which keep us and those we love, safe, in a circumstance of real concern or danger.
Worries can’t solve anything on their own. When we clutch to worries and they become our security, it robs us of the joys of today, and taxes us physically. We are not irresponsible for carrying our worries with us in our purses and pockets, they don’t need to be babysat. They can be dismissed. The beauty of our relationship with Our Father is that if we are trying genuinely to seek and live His will, we can trust in what the day brings. We will not be alone to face our trials. God works in those around us, and if we are courageous and reach out to pray for one another, even in times when nothing can be done but to pray….to wait, and to hope*….we use our precious moments in a way that can help, and heal.
What if….we could imagine a world in which we were not worriers, but warriors, carrying each other through uncertain times and storming heaven with prayer?
We can only live this life one moment at a time.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
*Borrowed from the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas