On faith, hope, and worry

I’m sure there is some tenet of some religion (or many religions) that holds that worry isn’t cool because it’s a sign you don’t have enough faith in the good Lord above. I’m sure I’ve heard this preached, or read it preached, and I’m sure I believe it.

I’m sure there is a school of intellectual discourse that holds that worry isn’t cool because it’s fruitless. Worry doesn’t change what will or won’t be; it only makes you miserable. I’m sure I believe it.

I’m sure I have always loved the poem Desiderata since I first read it posted on one of the secretary’s bulletin boards at the first job I ever had. It talks about not giving in to worry:

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

I’m sure I believe it.

As sure as I am of these, I’m also sure I’m a worrier. A gut-clenching, heavy-hearted, deep-sighing worrier.

Like my dad. Not at all like my mom. She takes after my grandpap, who seemed to define the word happy-go-lucky. I sure didn’t get the h-g-l gene.

I’m sure the moments, minutes, hours, even years of my life lost to worry have never accomplished a darn thing. Nothing desirable anyway.

So why does it persist? Do I lack the faith…the intellect…the soul of a poet? All three?

If I pray to stop worrying, does that mean I have faith?

If I constantly tell myself it’s useless to worry, does that mean I’m smart?

If I keep going back to Desiderata, does that mean I have hope?

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what a lot of things mean. But I do know that that, at least, is not something to worry about. I wish I could convince myself that nothing else is either.

Let not your heart be troubled.
~ John: 14:1


  1. Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I also believe that experience creates worriers simply because we know stuff that we didn’t when we first read Desiderata. And I think those of us who make a living getting projects done on time despite obstacles and crazy clients have trained our minds (perhaps too well) to play “what-if.” It IS still a beautiful world but “be cheerful” goes a bit trite relative to some concerns. (See that? It’s word choice. You’re not a “worrier”; you are concerned.) 😉 btw, you do indeed have all three, faith, intellect, and the soul of a poet. Silly girl.

  2. facie said,

    Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I am a worrier too, and as you know, I think everything to death. But sometimes I am able to just go with the flow. Two things (a quote and a story) have helped me with this, though not as often as I wish they would:

    “Let go and let God.”

    A story I read in Chicken Soup for the Soul. There were a couple of lines in there that went something like this: “I can have a bullet in side (or maybe it was a wrecked car) and be happy. Or I can have a bullet in my side and be sad. Either way, I still have a bullet in my side (or a wrecked car; I forget which).” Good stuff.

    Now go take a deep, calming breath, think pleasant thoughts, and fuhgeddaboutit. 🙂

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