Worried? You should get busy

Published 11:46 pm Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Chinese proverb relates that a duck’s legs are short; a stork’s legs are long. No matter how much you worry about it, you can’t change it. Are you a worrier? Despite the fact that we cannot change what happened a few minutes ago, yesterday, last week, or last year, some people still call up the past to worry about it.

My late mother-in-law was one of those worriers. We used to joke that she worried if she didn’t have anything to worry about. Then there’s the man who worried about a speech. He worried for some time about what he would say. When he finally put the speech together, he worried about what he was going to say. After he spoke, he worried about what he should have said.

I knew someone who would immediately correct you if you dare said you were worried in her presence. “Stop worrying and start praying,” she admonished. I know she was right, but few of us heed those words. Sometimes we just let worry get the best of us.

There’s a story about the man who always double parked when he visited his dentist. When questioned about this traffic violation, he explained it was better to worry about getting a parking ticket than to concentrate on the pain he might feel while in the dental chair.

One year my late husband and I camped at a state park near Birmingham to relax for a few days and attend my high school reunion dinner party. Although both of us grew up near Birmingham and I attended a Birmingham high school, we had been away so long we were unfamiliar with the route to the dinner party. That day we found ourselves in the midst of after-work traffic. It looked like everybody knew where they were going except us. As we tried to follow the map the hostess sent us, vehicles of every kind whizzed by us, changing lanes, exiting, and making sudden stops at traffic lights. We were thankful to arrive at my classmate’s home in one piece after such a nerve-wracking experience.

Flashes of worry about our return to the campground overshadowed our enjoyment of fun and fellowship with my former classmates. However, our anxiety over the return trip to the campground was unfounded. The traffic rush was long past and our drive back proved uneventful.

You’ve probably seen statistics about worrying. I read a set by a man who actually charted his worries. He concluded that only eight per cent of his worries were legitimate—hardly anything to worry about.

Phil Marquant had these choice words: “Blessed is the man who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.” E.C. McKenzie’s remedy was, “The best way to forget all about your troubles is to wear a tight pair of shoes.”

So next time you find yourself worrying, try slipping on your tightest pair of shoes, and get busy.