On Saturday night, I went to dinner with my family at a fairly new and trendy local Mexican restaurant. It is a tradition at this restaurant for the waitstaff to bring each table a bag of warm churros (my favorite!) and worry dolls at the end of the meal. [Worry dolls are small handmade dolls, typically from Mexican or Guatemala; by telling your worries to the dolls and placing them under your pillow before you go to sleep at night, legend has it that you’ll be worry-free by morning.] The joke at the table was, of course, who needed the worry dolls more? My mother pushed some my way, my brother scooped some his way. My father wanted some too. This made me stop and think: why is it that we all need something (or someone) else to take our worries away?
When we worry, it’s usually because there is some event or circumstance beyond our control. Whether it’s worrying about a teenager who is out past curfew, a relative in need of help, or situation at work that must be confronted, we tend to obsess about the details of what could happen without stopping to think that what will happen is what should happen. That’s not to say that a sick relative should be ignored. But keep in mind that you cannot be the master of the universe…no matter how hard you try. It is not humanly possible to fix everything. The next time you feel yourself worrying about something, you might try stopping to ask yourself these questions: Is this beyond my control? Is fear behind my worrying? Where does that fear come from? How likely is it that the fear will become reality?
As a recovering worrier myself, I still dislike it when people say to me:”Oh, don’t worry about it!” Instead, it helps me to hear: “No matter what happens, it will be okay.” After all, that IS the bottom line. No matter how unraveled our lives may get, there is always a way back to peace.
Oh yea…and about the worry dolls. They have a special place on my window sill. I don’t need to tell them my worries, I know how to handle them on my own now.