Why Worry?

17 Jan 2018

[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: http://bit.ly/2DgDZt7]

I think we all have a special seminal album in our lives. Sometimes we have one for each decade. For me, the seventies produced A Night at the Opera by Queen; the eighties The Joshua Tree by U2; the nineties, Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs and the noughties, Lady Gaga's The Fame (tied with Karl Jenkin's The Armed Man). We're not out of the teens yet, but so far Night Visions by Imagine Dragons is looking good for it.

There are other albums which hold a special place in my heart; albums I return to again and again. One of them nearly pipped U2 in the nineties: Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms.

Not only does it contain the eponymous track, but also the wonderful 'Why Worry?' Follow this link for eight and a half minutes of utter bliss: http://bit.ly/2B74xHo

I was recently sent an email with some of the most beautiful advice I have ever received. It contains two sections on worry.

'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'

I think we can all acknowledge the wisdom of this, but it's not always easy, is it, to just – stop – worrying?

But there is more advice.

'Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what you can do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.'

Sometimes it takes a real effort of will to forget something we can't do anything about. If the situation is out of our control; if we have done everything we possibly can; if the problem belongs absolutely to another person, we can stop worrying.

Two nights ago, I was texting with a friend. "I feel like giving up," he said. "I may as well just kill myself..." then he went quiet. And I had to consider my options.

This friend lives a hundred miles away and it was 2am. If he lived in the same town I could have popped round, banged on his door and sat up with him. Could I reasonably do more, in this situation, than tell him he was loved and cared for? And that things would probably look better in the morning – when he wasn't drunk!

I turned over and went back to sleep. Because lying awake wasn't going to help anyone. But it did take an effort of will to dismiss him from my thoughts.

And – yes – he's still with us; still depressed, but here.

Worry helps no one.

And – from a favourite hero of my childhood:

Biggles's Philosophy

When you are flying, everything is all right or it is not all right.

If it is all right there is no need to worry. If it is not all right one of two things will happen. Either you will crash or you will not crash.

If you do not crash there is no need to worry. If you do crash one of two things is certain. Either you will be injured or you will not be injured.

If you are not injured there is no need to worry. If you are injured one of two things is certain. Either you will recover or you will not recover.

If you recover there is no need to worry. If you don't recover you can't worry.

From Spitfire Parade, by Capt. W.E. Johns, Oxford University Press, 1941


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