News and Tribune

February 24, 2014

CUMMINS: Don’t sweat the small stuff

By TERRY CUMMINS
Local columnist

— After worrying about my topic for today, I saw it right before my eyes on the blank computer screen. When our minds go blank, it is not necessarily a cause for alarm. There’s too much stuff to worry about anyway.  

To write about any subject, one should have had experiences in that particular field. I do worry about what worry will pop up next. I worry about what’s outside my window, leery of what the Arctic vortex might bring. Looking at the TV screen worries me. No matter the program, crawling below — Winter Storm Watch. Why don’t they crawl — Life Passes By?    

 After explaining worry, I’ll cover happiness, which I have the constitutional right to pursue. You don’t have the constitutional right to pursue worry, but Washington seems to think you do. Are their minds cluttered or what? Why else do they thrive on uproar? You would think they’d be nervous wrecks. I worry about your government. What can they do to me, levy a tombstone tax?

There are two types of worriers, those who worry about everything and those who worry about updating their Facebook page. I have friends who do it every day. I worry about them, but most of them have moved to assisted-living homes or died. My wife worries that I need assistance in changing my behavior. I told her, “I am who I am.” She asked, “Who are you?” I said, “Don’t worry, you’ll know when I know.”  

Worry has been described as interest paid on trouble before it happens. I look out my window and see ice clinging to the tree limbs, which transfers to my worrying about slipping, falling and breaking my head. And then I see a hospital bed with my family gathered around. One asks, “Do you think he knows us?” Another said, “He never did.” And then, “Let’s go get coffee.” That’s when I realize my life has been a series of freezing up, thawing out and then re-freezing all because I kept worrying about what happens when ice coats the power lines. Older people go through this, worrying about their power lines.  

These words — stress, anxiety and worry — are not found in the Bible, but the authors explain it in other ways. In John: 2, he describes how Jesus’ mother became worried when she, Jesus and some of his disciples went to a wedding. During the ceremony, Jesus’ mother said, “They are out of wine.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, what right do you have to tell Me?” Of course, Jesus later turned about 120 gallons of water into wine, and think of the party they had. The point is, don’t worry and get upset about the little things that can cause family problems. Jesus was stern at times, but out of wine, big deal.

There is too much worry about Obamacare. One reason is that it costs too much to treat worries. I don’t remember it being like this back in the old days. We experienced stress, anxiety and worry, too, but nothing like the pain it causes today. There wasn’t a pill for it back then. Today, there are dozens, but few if any bring relief.

The world is too much with us. My drier is on the blink, the sidewalk iced and we’re out of milk. One prescription is ready and another when the insurance clears. Ten things on my list, but don’t worry. It’s not that easy, though. Most religions teach how to alleviate worries and the pain it brings. It’s not treated with pills or therapy, nor can you turn water into wine. They use something called faith, hope and love that puts a mind at ease.

 The Dalai Lama talks about “calm-abiding,” a wonderful term. To attain this, he says you have to become unattached to the material and seek the spiritual. The world I live in revolves around the material. There are too many things I must buy, fix and then scrap when it’s a month old. Try the latest gadget, a more convenient and entertaining one. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll work on nourishing my soul, which is on sale at 100 percent off.

From my open heart, they ran tubes to a machine. When I lay there moaning, a new nurse came in. She said, “Honey, you can call me Awesome, and, if you don’t sweat the small stuff, I’ll nurse you out of here and we’ll celebrate.” Worry or celebrate?

— Contact Terry Cummins at TLCTLC@AOL.com