Don’t Worry.

When I was in the fourth grade at a school in Flagstaff, AZ, they played Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” over the loudspeaker EVERY MORNING. Perhaps you surmise from the capital letters that the song did not have its intended effect.

I was a worrisome and superstitious 9 year old. I wore a cross and would fling it around behind me in my room in case there happened to be a ghost standing behind me. I could not sleep after watching the movie based on Roald Dahl’s The Witches. My imagination most definitely ran away from me, frequently.

I did not internalize the song’s message that when you worry, you double life’s trouble. But I tell you what. These days, when my mind begins to rush, as it did back then, into the million what ifs of the pandemic and post-pandemic world, I believe ol’ Bobby was right. There are a few things I control, and millions I don’t. So when I’m able, I focus on the moment and put worry aside. Not as an excuse to ignore suffering, not as escapism, not as the power of positive thinking, not as nihilism or callousness, and not as an excuse for inaction. Rather as a means to live, carry on, and enjoy all my blessings. So cue it up…


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