I think radio, television, and the internet have given us all much more to worry about, every day. Of course there are advantages, but sometimes I find myself longing for a time when news was not available twenty-four hours a day, from all around the world. Can you imagine? I think it sounds quite lovely to be unaware, to not feel like I should be coming up with a solution, or fretting about things that I have little power to change. Not forever, but for a while.
Right now, the world seems dark, and ominous. Too heavy. Ukraine. Nuclear saber-rattling. Climate change. A dozen more worrisome things that make the news and, I know, a hundred other travesties that, for one reason or another, are not in the headlines today. I do what I can, but it feels like nothing in the face of such enormous issues. So, I worry.
Yesterday, storms swept through the mid-western United States. Tornadoes touched down in Iowa. One of my daughters lives in Iowa. She’s a nurse, and works the night shift. I couldn’t call her. I spent some time trying to get more information, and pulling up maps of her location, in relation to the path of the storms. And, I worry. I worry about both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren, often, even when I know they’re doing well, even when they’re not possibly in the path of a tornado.
In my own small, sedate, and secure world, I have tiny concerns. A little glitch in my bookkeeping, a small health issue, a leaky roof, three aging dogs, two books underway that I’m right in the middle of the high-stress point…in comparison to what’s going on “out there,” I have nothing to complain about. Still, in the middle of the night, when worries take over, these little things play leapfrog with all the big things, to make sleep impossible.
Sandwiched, as I usually am, between two small dogs in my bed, the decision to get up is not made lightly. Sometimes, unable to sleep, I stay where I’m at just to avoid rousing the whole household. Last night, after hours of frustration at not being able to quiet my mind, I got out of bed. First a glass of water, then a cup of tea. I paced the floor. I sat and read. Maybe, the very least I could do is finish one book, and have that one less thing playing on my mind. I made toast, and ate it with butter and jam. Then I ate a dozen dried cherries, each accompanied by a roasted almond. Another cup of tea. All the while, letting dogs, their own sleep interrupted, outside and back in.
Finally, around four o’clock in the morning, I went back to bed. I had not solved the world’s problems, nor found solutions to any of my own. I had made no progress in any area; I hadn’t even finished a book. I ate – too much, and not particularly healthfully – in the middle of the night. Lacking a good night’s sleep, I’ve been dragging around all day, less productive than usual, even. All I’ve managed is to prove my statement: excessive worry leads to nothing good!