M. Regina Cram
"Be anxious about nothing, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your needs be made known to God.” Phil. 4:6
I came into this world lacking a few key components. I am artistically impaired, a trait which I thoughtfully passed along to three of our four children. I am a complete idiot about the tax code, life insurance and cell phones. Most important, I lack whatever genetic code is necessary in order to worry.
I am simply not a worrier. That’s the good part. The bad part is that I have a hard time understanding why most other humans on the planet do so much of it. To me, worry is a colossal waste of time. It also reflects a profound lack of trust in God’s ability to provide – at least, that’s what I used to think. I mean, do I, or do I not trust God? I’m not suggesting that we be reckless or that I park my brain at the door of the church, but if I’ve taken all reasonable steps, why on earth would I worry? It doesn’t accomplish a thing.
Besides, Jesus clearly instructed us to not worry. He said it, I believe it, and that settles it.
Until last night.
I was alone in a darkened church in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I love that time each week, just God and me as I pour out my heart to him, listen for the sound of his voice and simply enjoy the pleasure of his company.
This time, I got thinking about my teenage and young adult children, musing about what it will be like if and when they marry and have children of their own.
Soon I was deep in thought, imagining my daughter or daughter-in-law going into la-or. Without warning, my pulse quickened, my mouth dried, muscles tensed, teeth clenched. In my mind, I paced, fidgeted, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, jumped at every ring of the telephone. When I finally received news of a safe delivery, I sobbed uncontrollably.
Before I knew it, that’s exactly what I was doing. I was sobbing, all alone in a darkened church with only Jesus as my companion. I was terrified and relieved, soaked in sweat and feeling like a total idiot.
Why was my reaction so intense? Because 15 years ago, a supposedly routine childbirth swept me to the brink of death. I was young, healthy and vigorous, with no risk factors and no warnings. Sud-denly, eightdoctors and a team of nurses were working frantically to stop massive hemorrhaging as the clock ticked down toward what they believed were my final moments of life. They’d already told my husband that I would not survive.
For reasons known by God alone, the resuscitation was successful. That’s not the typi-al outcome. While this com-plication is extraordinarily rare, there is an 86 percent mortality rate for both mother and baby. The few who survive are brain-damaged.
My kids have always known me as a mother who doesn’t worry. They learn to cross the street, ride a bike, head off to school and drive a car, and I have not yet lost a night’s sleep. Nevertheless, I’ve warned them that when the time comes for them to produce my beautiful grandchildren, they should prepare themselves for the worrier of the century. I’ll do everything in my power to leave the matter in God’s hands, but if my day-dream in front of the Blessed Sacrament is any indication, it will take a supernatural act of God to keep me from worrying.
So okay, maybe worry doesn’t necessarily reflect a lack of faith; maybe worry just is. Maybe it’s a trait handed down from one generation to the next like a sense of humor or flat feet. Maybe it’s part of our very nature to worry.
Still, that doesn’t mean that we have to be willing participants. Think of it this way: I have a kid who is terrified of spiders, but recently she announced that she had just rid the world of one teensy weensy spider in the bathroom. “It was going to crawl into my towel, and that was just not an option,” she explained with pride. Her nature led her to fear; her will led her to act.
Perhaps it’s the same with worry. Our nature leads us to worry, but we can release that worry to God’s tender care. Like a father whose child is carrying a huge boulder, surely God whispers to us, “I love you, sweetheart. Let me carry that for you.”
Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer