Making peace with the worst-case scenario

A friend and co-worker stopped by today with a card for me and a gift for Bryson. It was a nice surprise. It brought to memory a conversation we had a long time ago over lunch. I think I was pregnant with Brody, but I can’t remember.

We discussed how it is difficult not to worry excessively about our kids. We discussed tragedy and disappointment and how they can breed fear.

I shared with her how, after Bryson was born, I was determined not be a worrying, fearful mom, but I didn’t know how to stop worrying that he might die. So, I read Dale Carnegie’s book: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

In it, Carnegie explains that in order to stop worrying, one must make peace with the worst-case scenario. He gives a number of examples to show how this is an effective strategy. It made sense in his examples, but I couldn’t see how any mother could make peace with the possibility of her child dying. I certainly couldn’t.

Then I asked God what to do. The Bible says not to worry, to trust God, to fear not. I asked God how to find peace instead of constantly worrying about my baby. And I sincerely felt like God spoke to me. She told me I could make peace with the fact that I am not in control. I could let go.

I remember sharing with my co-worker at lunch how I resolved to do just that. I resolved to trust God and recognize that my worrying created no power – it does not add a single day to a life.

I remembered all of this like a flood this evening, and I’ve been trying not to drown in it ever since.

Should I have worried more? Should I have been afraid? My strategy obviously didn’t prevent tragedy from happening. Was that not God speaking to me? Am I meant to believe that I can have control?

I don’t think so. Even after… everything. I still don’t think so.

This is absolutely not to say that I or anyone else should relinquish all authority in her child’s life or in her own life. No. No. No.

Our words are powerful. The atmosphere we create in our home can heal or hurt its inhabitants. A mother’s love and wisdom is so very powerful. I could go on and on about this. Maybe I will one day.

But worry is not a weapon; it is a weakness. Even though, as a mom, I have had far too #$*&ing many reasons to worry, I will never wish I worried more.

Embracing worry wouldn’t have saved Brody. It wouldn’t have made me a better mother. It just would have tainted the little time we had with him.

Worry is part of the bad wolf, and I can tell that it is eager to feed on this disaster and consumer me. If I’m honest, I wish worrying was powerful, because it’s easy, and I can’t deny that I would very much like more power right now. I would love to have more control.

It doesn’t work that way though, and I think I would be better off to keep pursuing peace.

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