That night, lying in bed as a thunderstorm flashed in the distance over where I was sure my daughter was lying awake and alone, and then counting the seconds between flashes and crashes as it came my way, there was only one thing to do: Worry.
Worry about everything and everybody while having absolutely no control over anything at all.
Worrying is a skill that comes naturally to many of us. It is a natural by-product of living. And of loving. And for that reason, it is not to be feared or fought.
I know, you had expected to read a solution here, or at the very least a worthwhile suggestion or comforting insight.
But we’re going to have to go with maybe just a new way of thinking this time because this is a problem that can’t be solved. Only managed, perhaps.
Worrying reached new heights with the unexpected, unimaginable, unconscionable events of 9-11.
For the first few days nobody was allowed to fly in an airplane at all. After that, we could only fly with new hassles and new fears. And live the same way.
Our knowledge of the world and what happens in it has brought on worries that have altered our actions and affected where our children play, who they can share a tent with on campouts, how we carry our handbags, when we jog, how we plan for retirement.
Action is a good way to deal with worries. Action that lowers the odds of problems that might ensue, like not driving too fast or not letting a child stay out too late or not spending too much or by having earthquake insurance or locking your home at night or working your very hardest at your job.
But sometimes action is not possible or not desirable, like when a daughter announces she’s going to Uganda for four months. Three times. Or when two daughters decide to travel through Cambodia and Malaysia and India together. I could go on.
Then you can only smile and support. And worry. And pray.
Worries cannot stop you or anyone you love from living.
Worries must not stop you or anyone you love from embracing life.
We in America are worried about the economy right now. We’re worried about leaders who won’t work together. We’re worried about natural disasters and the lack of jobs.
We, as parents, worry about our children’s safety, health and self esteem, as well as their friendships, their test scores, their choice of clothes and their need for straight teeth.
As they get older, we worry about their jobs, their relationships, their decisions and their happiness.
And then we have grandchildren.
Where we can act by contributing, by writing letters, by voting, by helping neighbors, by conserving resources, we should. Where we can act by loving and teaching and leading, we must.
And then we can know that worrying is in fact, only caring. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.