Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's Hard not to Worry

We all have things we worry about.  Sometimes the things we worry about seem perfectly reasonable, such as whether a biopsy will prove malignant, taxes will be owed,  or a guilty verdict will be rendered at a trial.  Other times, worries are more far-flung and statistically unlikely, such as the safety of flying on an airplane or riding the subway.  Professionally, we can worry about being sued, audited, fined, sanctioned, or even criminally sentenced in some regions.  It's not at all unusual for people to worry about their children and to do many things to keep them safe, including securing their car seats, having them vaccinated (or not), or buying certain foods they believe to be healthier.  We all have our "things" to worry about and we don't universally agree on how much time, expense, effort, and mental energy we should be expending on preventing bad consequences.  For one person, it seems perfectly reasonable to live a life without ever boarding an airplane, no matter how much that limits them; for another, that seems absurd.

Lately, our collective sense of what to worry about is facing challenges.  Is it safe to go to a movie? To listen to a politician talk at the local supermarket? To send a child to kindergarten?  To watch a race on a beautiful April day?  Certainty would be nice, but there is none, and while it probably doesn't help to worry about those things over which we have no control, such worries do seem to be built into our wiring, if not in one way, then perhaps in another.  Does worrying protect us?  Some people don't worry at all, and for others there is a superstitious quality, as if to announce that if one worries, then it won't happen.  Other people seem jinxed: their worries come true, proving they were right to be afraid.

When awful things happen, they damage us all.  They bring us just a little closer to our fears and  remind us that no worry is all that unreasonable. They blanket us in poisonWith time, most people heal; they move on and often emerge even stronger.  The journey can be both bumpy and senseless.

Our hearts go out to all those who were harmed by the events in Boston this week.