I grew up with two competing perspectives on worry. The first was Mad magazine’s idiotic Alfred E. Neuman’s famous phrase, “What, Me Worry?” That helped shape my sense that worry was something we should do unless we wanted to end up looking like Alfred. Only an idiot would be free of worry. Worry was something of a responsibility and part of the legitimate burden of growing up. If I didn’t worry then I would be forever locked into a mindless adolescence. On the other side of things I was also taught the Biblical perspective on worry. It is almost a sin to worry. If I had the relationship with Christ that was intended then I would be not irresponsibly carefree but certainly not feeling more responsible and mature by worrying. So…like most people…I was caught between responsible anxiety and small faith worry.
While I may have come to some resolve about that issue, I do wish I had read Mary Oliver’s “I Worried” earlier in life. No, it is not Scripture but there is a final release to it that I did not find in the way the Bible passages were taught to me. She speaks for me and many others. Maybe for you, too
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,