I specialize in worrying. At least that’s how it seems since I spend so much time doing it.
I distract myself from worry. But it doesn’t work very well. Eating cookies doesn’t really put out the fire that worry fuels.
I circle around, worrying without making any forward progress. I end up back where I started, still worried.
When I was in high school, worry spiraled like this:
1) Oh no! I missed a question on my algebra test!
2) What will I do? I did not get 100%!
3) I will never get a scholarship.
4) No college will admit me.
5) My life is over.
6) I will end up homeless, living in a damp box.
7) My feet will be cold because everyone knows homeless people have trouble getting clean socks.
8) The end.
I don’t slide down the muddy slope with so much speed these days, but it’s still a mess.
Bad news–the kind of news I can’t change or fix or avoid–sits on my head and gnaws at my brain, nibbling a hole directly through my skull. Bad new is like a rabid squirrel, in other words. I can’t shake it and I can’t get a rabies shot. It grabs hold of my hair and won’t let go.
So, this is what I do. I gather a crowd. I pull in every negative situation I can remember–the group of writers who didn’t invite me to join them–the overwhelming paperwork that has covered my desk and requires more time that I have to give–the clothes in my closet that don’t fit–the dark mole on the bottom of my foot that worries me because my dad died from skin cancer–the friend who is inexplicably silent . . . I gather all these enemies around, hug them close and invite them to torture me with their sharp sticks.
Because I am ridiculous and do things that make no sense.
Today, I decided that every time I started to worry about a particular thing that I would say to God, “Okay, look, I am really worried about this but I am just going to trust You to handle it. Thanks.”
I need to remember to do that more. Every time, even.
Worry, though. It’s a hard habit to break.