Worry is the big killer. Call it anxiety, call it stress, or (if you want to experiment) name it “depression.” It is serious, destructive and fruitless. With practice (and a painful divorce from our culture), some of it may be avoidable.
As a child, my summer vacations were spent visiting a grandfather who lived alone on his peaceful estate on the water. My mom didn’t look forward to it one bit ‑ she worried about his lack of cleanliness, his independence, his profanity, even his snoring. She always spent the first day scrubbing the shower stall we would use.
For me, it was like a lab: I could see a dramatic contrast to her worrying. “Pop” worried about nothing (as far as I could see). He had a big bag of Oreos ready for me when we got there. “What the hell?” he’d say when I raided his pantry. He was confident, involved in his work and his hobbies, and he endured no foolishness. He liked good whiskey, good food, mouthy women. He felt like a big, craggy boulder, rooted firmly in the middle of the river of my parents’ young adult worries.
I spent most of the time in his very messy wood shop, being taught how to carve on a lathe.
The Tale Wagged
Many feelings rise up when I write about worry: worry was pervasive in my mom: she may have seen it as a moral imperative. My dad reacted by dreaming of ideal vocations, ideal getaways, and (I later learned) ideal women. It took me years to get even a slight handle on those two extremes; I did crazy things trying to blast free from the twin devils of worry and escapism I’d inherited.
Finding the right balance of sensible caution and spontaneity is difficult for most of us; how can I hope to say anything useful when half the self‑help books are already about worry?
I’m helpless. I can’t see you but I pray we both can somehow take a step back, not jump to conclusions and yet not withdraw into little caves in our hearts. I hope we can remember that we don’t really need everyone to like us or be like us. I believe we can live with imperfection within and without, can be grateful, and can relax.
This entire blog is the best gift I’ve been able to craft for all the seekers who may find their ways here.