Trading worry for wonder

“Let it go, let it roll right off your shoulder/Don’t you know the hardest part is over/Time falls away, but these small hours, these small hours, still remain … “ The song “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas inspires me like none other to let things go. I do this when I stop worrying, when I discontinue fighting for control — as much control as I can get my hands on. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but truth generally is — at least for the one who has believed the lie that worry is merely taking responsibility and showing concern for my life.

Let me explain.

I must confess that I am currently learning how much I have allowed fear to rule my life. It has clung to me in a very subtle form, masking itself and clouding decisions and actions, but it slowly sucks out life’s enjoyment like leeches in a dirty creek. I hadn’t perceived that this “little” problem called worry stemmed from fear until recently, nor had I recognized its subtle power. Anxiety helped me feel as if I was somewhat in control of things that really were beyond my control — such as how people perceive and receive me. Somehow, if I heightened a problem in my mind, I felt empowered enough to do something about it. Fretting over a matter was my way of staying on top and in control and, let me tell you, it doesn’t work.

I took a homeless lady’s hands in mine at the bus station downtown, looked in her eyes, and sang her “You Are My Sunshine.”

“Willie,” she said to her fourth-grader, “you remember that song, ‘You Are My Sunshine’? You know that song, Willie.” He looked nervously down the corridor.

“I’ll check what time the bus leaves, Mom.” Off he ran.

“Willie,” I caught up with him and looked in his eyes. “Thank you for looking out for your mom. I really honor you for doing that.”

“Whatever,” he replied, eyes averting my gaze.

What a childhood, framed on the existence of constant threats to overcome and danger to prevent. How can one let go when all one knows is to hang on, tooth and claw, to survive? I have no excuse like little Willie to offer for my behavior. I was never homeless, discarded and sitting on a bench until my next destination could be reached. I was looked out for, cared, loved and nurtured. So why this worry, why this driving need to be in control? Every time I felt I had attained a position of dominance, the battle could never be over because I had to fight to keep the ground gained. It is a losing war, setting the stage for exhaustion and, ultimately, failure. It is impossible to have complete control, therefore the fight to be in control — worry — is useless and detrimental.

As I said before, worry is something I know how to do when I don’t know what to do. It feels like a way I show responsibility. I don’t quite know how, but I have stopped allowing worry and responsibility to be simultaneous. Life is now more of an absolute joy. Refuting anxiety is a daily process that is prompted every time I feel threatened, helpless and small, or my housemate points out that I always double-question his responses with, “Are you sure?” I now smile at worry when I hear the familiar hard-knuckled rap on my door and see its ambiguous face — then pull my welcome mat in. The relaxation and freedom I’ve allowed myself to become at home in is like looking into the eyes of a lion: clear and fierce, firm and affectionate, so powerful, so free — this is me.

I don’t need fear to help me live my day. I don’t need it to assure me that I am enough. Perfect love casts out all fear, so in the presence of love, apprehension drops to the floor like a cloak before a canvas. I may now be staring at the lion’s golden face, or a child’s toes, muddying the creek bed or a mountaineer’s withered hand pausing to rap on the cottage door. Whatever picture anxiety has painted, it cannot compare with the richness and beauty of a sincere and carefree life.

Annabelle Blair is a graduate from Newton who is attending Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, Cal. Contact her at bellalovetoday@gmail.com.