I’m a worrier. I’m a woman. Sometimes I think they’re the same. My husband doesn’t worry about anything. No, I take that back, he worries about business. He’s a man. Maybe I’m being sexist but, in my house, that’s the way it is.
Lately, I’ve been worrying about people I love and circumstances I have little control over (but wish I had LOTS of control over). Throw in the holidays, birthdays, publication deadlines, and the nagging feeling of so much to do and so little time, and well… I’m a bit of a basket case.
A few nights ago my loving husband made the mistake of walking past my office and asking me how I was. I burst into tears, and good man (foolish man) that he is, he came in and sat down.
I poured out my woes and he listened. The answer, of course, was clear. I needed to detach. To “Let Go and Let God,” as they say. But how? Easy to do with politics, toothaches, and even with distant relatives. But impossible, I pointed out, with loved ones. Especially children!
To make a long conversation short, he said one thing that actually made quite an impact. (Don’t tell him—he’ll be walking into my office offering advice all the time!) He suggested that I imagine looking at my worst problem (ie my kid’s problem) from 10,000 miles away.
So I did. I imagined myself floating somewhere way above the Earth. Not far enough to get burnt by the sun, mind you; but far enough away so that the Earth looked like a big round bowling ball. And you know, from that distance, I was able to gain some perspective. And some peace.
My loved ones may struggle, but they aren’t alone. And they aren’t unique. There, in front of my eyes, was a planet covered with billions of humans. All of them—all of us doomed to evolve the only way we can, by learning from our mistakes and overcoming struggles. Whether you believe it’s part of some greater Higher Power’s plan or not, that’s how it is.
Anyway, from that perspective, worrying (a.k.a. wishing our loved ones would have a totally smooth ride) is like expecting rain only on Wednesdays from 9 pm to 6 am. Not realistic. So, rather than worry that our loved ones are struggling, we should expect it. And like rain, while it’s not always convenient and not always pleasant, facing struggles, mistakes, opportunities… whatever you wish to call them, is necessary if we are to grow.
From 10,000 miles away, I also noticed a few other things. People struggled, but they also laughed and smiled and loved. And I should expect—no, rather, I should know perfectly well, my loved ones will experience that too.