My mediation reading this morning was about worry. It said worrying about something was akin to having a headache and banging your head against a wall to get rid of it. I can be an active headbanger but I have decided to stop worrying. I have decided to give up worry for Lent. Do you think that’s possible?
My paternal grandmother developed Alzheimer’s at a very young age. She died at the age of 72. I believe they first started to notice a change in behavior at the age of 55. I now bring communion for my church to an Alzheimer’s unit. Most of the residents are women. I began worrying about getting Alzheimer’s when I first heard it could be hereditary. I was in my early 30’s. I even considered getting some sort of long term care health insurance. I shared my concern with my young teenage daughter. Her response, “Oh, Mom, that’s so silly. By the time your that age, they’ll have a cure for it.” I stopped worrying. She was wrong, but it didn’t matter. I was able to let it go.
Last week a meteor, the size of a school bus, 10,000 tons with the power of an atomic bomb, landed in Russia. A number of people died. There were numerous videos of it streaking across the early morning skies. It appears all the cars in Russia have cameras on them to record any accident that takes place. The cameras are designed to act as a third, impartial witness. I couldn’t help wonder how many people that day were worrying about an asteroid landing on them? In my husband’s book, Humanity at Work, he tells the story of the fish and the pelican. There’s the fish swimming along watching out for the barracuda or some other predator when along comes a pelican and swoops it up, a creature from another universe totally foreign to the fish’s world. We have no idea what life is going to present us with, a meteor or perhaps a pelican. I felt like a meteor landed on my life when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. I know I speak for many when I say that many of the physical diagnosis we receive come as total shocks. Sometimes they are conditions we have never even heard about. We may not even be able to pronounce them or perhaps we have heard about them but never considered they would affect us. Truly, if we really wanted to worry all the time, I’m sure we could make up lots of stuff. Actually, most of our worries are fantasy driven because we can never know what the future will bring, we can only guess. Let go of your concerns for the future, focus on the now.
In Conversation with God, Father Francis Fernandez addresses the passage from Matt 6:34, Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. He goes on to say, “What matters is today. Worry magnifies the difficulties and diminishes our ability to fulfill the duty of the present moment. We can live only in the present. Anxieties almost always arise because we fail to put all our effort into the here and now.” If we believe we will be given the graces we need in order to contend with anything that crops up. We will be victorious!