Wednesday Word: Are You Worried?
“Aren't you worried?” – Question posed to me by a parishioner about my upcoming surgery
The genesis of that question was her telling me that she was going to need foot surgery to repair some damage. This would necessitate being in a large boot, followed by a smaller boot, followed by a special shoe (at least I think those were the steps). She mentioned that she was really quite nervous about the whole procedure. Somewhere in there she remembered that I was having surgery next week and wondered how I could be so calm.
First of all, I am confident that my surgeon will do a good job. He is well-respected in his field, and the current damage was not a result of anything he did wrong last time.
Second, I've discovered in life that there are certain times when it doesn't pay to worry. For me, this is one of them. I'll go in early next week, get into one of those ridiculous hospital gowns, go to sleep, and wake up (hopefully) new and improved, and without the pain, agony, and extended stay of last time.
But all of us have different thresholds of worry. I don't worry about getting on an airplane and crashing, but I do worry about roller coasters – to the extent that I won't ride one (even though the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1/188,364, compared to a roller coaster at 1/750,000,000).
Both Matthew and Luke give us passages where Jesus tells us not to worry. “Do not worry about what you will eat or wear. Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying about these things?”
I don't think this means going through life with a Pollyanna attitude. I do think, however, that we understand whether or not our fears or worries are rational or not. If they're irrational, we may or may not be able to overcome them. If they're rational, what are we doing to address them?
I'm not worried about my back surgery next week. But here are some things I do worry about: will we ever get to a place where people care enough about others to wear a mask and get vaccinated; will we have the fortitude to address the root causes of homelessness; will we ever honestly address systemic racism; will we get to the point where those in leadership and/or positions of power are held responsible for crimes; will we begin celebrating financial achievements that focus on feeding/housing those in need rather than rocket rides to space; will we ever love others as we think God loves us?
Do not worry about what you will eat or wear; instead, worry about how you may help to manifest the kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven.