Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Worry - Be Happy

Ever since I became a Christian almost 20-years ago I've been taught, told and preached the concept of "Don't Worry - Be Happy" as if it were a decision as easily made as choosing between a pair of identical socks.  But I find it a little more complicated to make that decision. I don't disagree with the concept, on the contrary I agree whole-heartily, I just have a difference of opinion when it comes to exercising the practice  in everyday decisions and practical matters.

 Sometimes I'll be going through my day, zipping through my responsibilities, fulfilling my obligations and not realize that I'm stressed from the burden of the panacea of things I'm worried about.  If you asked me right out if something was worrying me, I'd answer with an emphatic "No".  However, I'd be lying to myself - which is quite possible and often the culprit in 99% of the worry people carry.

What do I  worry about - whether consciously or subconsciously?  Let's see:
  • Education - With a daughter as a Junior in high school, this is the year for searching for grants, scholarships,  and deciding what type of college, how to pay for that extended education and try to draw up a plan and budget to begin the process of fulfilling those dreams (which can change at any moment and then you'd have to start all over).  I have a son about to enter the police academy, but first has to take a few courses at college to give him the best negotiating terms to obtain the desired position within the police force.  Of course - all of this is without a college fund - and we're expected not to worry about it - it's only our children's future we're talking about here. I find juggling the ideas of responsibility/faith/obligation gets a little tricky sometimes.  I'm a great debater and could possibly win on either term - but shouldn't they work together? God will make a way where there is no way.
  • Economy - With the downturn in the economy and unemployment at all time record highs, business opportunities are not as viable as they were five years ago.  The unemployment rate among teenagers is hovering at 95%, while college graduates are around 40%.  When the top 1% are closing businesses and not investing in new ventures and technology due to high taxes and an unstable market - that means middle class workers like myself and those in school like my daughter - don't have many options.  When business aren't hiring and laying off people, investors are tightening their belts and reluctant to part with their savings, and the political tensions and shallow promises are slung left and right blaming each other instead of coming up with solutions.  We're asked to Hope for Change, yet things stay just the same.  No matter how much I tell myself "don't worry", worry comes anyway. God is my provider.
  • Health - With the high cost of health insurance, increase in taxes  and the cost of living (groceries & gas) and decrease in pay - many of us have found ourselves between a rock and a hard place (too rich for Medicaid or free health care (unless illegal)/too poor for even your basic HMO) and have become uninsured.  Now unable to participate in 'preventive' health care like physicals and regular checkups, I sit by and hope and pray nothing serious happens health-wise  until I'm able to get back on my feet. Being over 40, I'm told how important it is to have a regular pap, physical and mammogram because the  best defense against most conditions that effect women my age is early detection.  Yet, I'm expected not to worry.  God is my healer.
These are just a few of the examples, there are many more.  I'm trying to follow my dream as a writer, knowing this is the gift I've been given in which I operate best.  Everyday I come against obstacles that want to crush that dream.  I have to fight against the 'practical' in order to fulfill the dream.  A war wages between Responsibility, Obligation and Desire.  Each have their own requirements for fulfillment, often sacrificing one another.

It's said worry can kill you.  I believe that.  With worry comes stress, anxiety, oppression, depression, ulcers, acid reflux, low immune system and easy susceptibility for disease.

So, what is the answer?  I wish there was an easy solution I could give you, but I can't.  Some things motivate some people, some things motivate others, but everything doesn't work on everybody the same.  We're unique individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses; we each have our own measure of faith.  But, without HOPE - there's nothing.  So, by FAITH, and the love I have for and through my Creator, I cling to that hope with all I possess - my God shall supply all my needs.  Doesn't mean I'll get everything I want.  My candidate may not win, my child may not get into the school of their choice, I may have do with just the basics for a time, my books may take a while before they hit the best sellers list - but I will prevail, I will overcome, I will succeed and I will rise again. I am happy right where I am - right in the middle of my little mess. THAT I don't worry about.  In the meantime, I'll keep trying to work on the other things.   

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray