Monday, September 20, 2010

Worry Holiday

In church yesterday, our minister Rev. Martie McMane gave a great sermon on keeping the Sabbath. It's almost incredible that a minister of the progressive United Church of Christ in the People's Republic of Boulder, no less, would give a speech on keeping the Sabbath, and keep a congregation of more than 200 people totally rapt. But that is the courage of Martie McMane.

She touched on worry as an activity to leave behind on the Sabbath. As a world class worrier I decided I was going to do my best to take a worry holiday, to not borrow trouble. I've been saturated in worry since I was in my mother's womb. When the women in my family love, we worry.

But worry is so negative. It's a way of not allowing myself to feel the tender, out-of-control-ness of love. Love might overwhelm me with tenderness and vulnerability, while worry is a spiral, perhaps motivated by love, but actually more by fear, and the fear of losing what I have, or what I think is mine, or wish was mine, or despair that will ever be mine. Worry is pain. Love has a pain component, and there's also that vulnerability piece I avoid like the plague. Not gonna allow myself to be vulnerable and exposed.

Worry constructs a wall against attacks, real and perceived. Whereas with love, there are no walls. Only unity with all that life can bring, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, courage and fear. In love there are no barriers. That's what Joni Mitchell is saying in "Clouds": "I really don't know love at all." I admit I really don't know love.

I could judge myself for that--I've had almost 50 years to learn, blah, blah, blah. But I'm going to start my loving close to home--I'm going to refrain from self-judgment.

Because my capacity to love is not a competition--it's an evolution. I make no judgment on how fast or how slowly I've evolved in my capacity to love. Let's say I'm growing in my capacity to love. I'm not going to pretend I'm better or worse at it than anyone else, or than I have been at other times in my life. I am where I am. Or to quote the great Popeye, "I yam what I yam."

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