I’m sitting beside Bode at his cavity filling this morning, watching him frantically squeezing the little squishy ball the nurse gave him for when he gets overwhelmed. I hear his little whimpers, trying to discern whether their from fear or pain. And, I feel the motherly anguish start to rush into the depths of my soul.
I am so worried about him.
I’m worried that he’s scared, that they’re hitting a nerve in his tooth, that he feels alone and helpless. Even though I know they’ve done this a million times before and that he’s JUST getting a cavity filled, the worry in my heart is manifesting itself in a full body sweat.
Luckily, I remember just moments before reading the Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s take on worry: “…people know it with their head…it doesn’t help worrying. But they still worry.”
It doesn’t help worrying. It doesn’t help anyone: Bode, the dentist and nurse, or myself.
Worry is a choice we have the freedom to feel, or not feel. And, in the rare occasion that it does help us actually prevent danger on some level, then yes…go bathe in it.
But, most of the time worry does nothing but create negative thoughts, anxiety, and stress. Bode could sense my concern, which makes him feel even more scared, which makes the dentist and nurse feel the stress of trying to calm him enough so they can keep him safe and do their job, etc.
It’s the same when I worry about Ben flying, Maya driving back to school, Jonah riding his bike across town, and the little kids going to school everyday in a world so riddled with gun violence.
As soon as I felt myself diving into the depths of worry this morning, I reminded myself of all of this, opened my book, and got lost in more words from the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Tutu. I felt GUILTY, though. Like, I was a bad mother for “not caring”. But, it was actually the very opposite of that.
And, you know what? When they finished, they gave Bode a Slinky and he forgot all about the cavity filling and was off to start his day as usual.
Worry: it usually doesn’t help. Even worse, it usually makes everything worse than just letting go.