Notwithstanding a piece someone posted the other day suggesting that worrying is a sign of intelligence, anxiety and worry can be such as wasteful distraction. Worry about what might or might not happen prevents our being present to what is happening right now.
Jesus is quite explicit about the pointlessness of worry, in Luke admonishing us “Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan?” Likewise, there is good sense in his admonition (in Matthew), “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”
I confess that this is one of my weaknesses. I can waste time worrying about the smallest things. As I sat with this the other morning I realized that the problem with not letting go of worrying is that there is always something to worry about. To take a couple of recent insignificant, but distracting worries:
Worry whether Elena will get into the summer program she auditioned for. OK, she got in. Then my worry can shift to whether she will get the part she wanted. Ok, she got the part. Then my worry can shift to whether she will get the acceptance and deposit in on time. When that happens I can shift my worry to the hassle of getting a Euro check necessary for the second payment. Etc. etc.
Or, worry whether I will get all the necessary docuements to send to the guy who does our taxes. OK got them and sent it off. Then my worry can shift to whether he will get them. OK, he gets them, now my worry can shift to whether I’ll get some other document after he prepares the tax statement.
I use these precisely because they are not life and death situations, but the kind of situations that are always there. And unless we can let go of worry, it can become (to use the phrase a friend used with me the other day) – what is the “Anxiety du jour.”
Total waste of time. As Jesus says, none of the wasted energy will have the slightest effect on anything.
And so I remind myself of he lilies of the field: “They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and it thrown in the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you.”