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Moments of bliss

What are you worried about?

WTF is my acronym for Worry, Trust, and Fear. They seem to go together, but which comes first? What do you worry about? What do you fear? Does either affect trust?

Susan worries about different things than I do. When we become aware of the other’s worry, we have to bite our tongue. If we say something, especially to solve, it can become argumentative. It is incredible to me that what seems so appropriate to worry about she thinks of little concern and vice versa.

Some of my worries have been neutralized since I have been in the care-giving field. Listening to others worries often sidetracks my own, although sometimes it works in reverse, and I discover a worry I hadn’t thought about before.

At this point you might wish I would supply a WTF example, but none will be forthcoming. I fear that talking about a specific worry has the potential for critique. Hey, how about that? I just supplied one.

I don’t want to be analyzed. I don’t want to be thought silly, or have you think I think someone else’s worry trivial. My worries are not to be solved. They are to be listened to, but who can I trust for that? The result often is I keep them to myself and they build up.

The more we hold a worry, the more it becomes fear. In a close relationship, this fear can erupt into argument, confrontation and even violence. WTF is circular, or so it seems. I have no solutions, only reflections.

How does worry make us look? Has it been proven that lines in the skin can come from worry? Are the most wrinkled among us worriers or wise? Don’t worry, be happy. Hah!

I heard author Lois Lowry speak at the Monadnock Lyceum. She is well-known for many books, among them “The Giver.” I read the book years ago. As I listened to Lois’s talk, I remembered only some of the book, a story about memory.

The society she created has given up its memories to the giver. They did so in large part to remove the emotions of fear and worry. As they saw it, it could only cause problems.

The problem is that when they gave up memory, they gave up other things as well. They lost reason, love and compassion. I guess they figured this a small price to pay for the loss of worry.

My own track record for solving the world’s problems is not good, and that is an understatement. Whatever it is I have worried about on the world stage has either kept happening or never occurred. At least not yet.

In life before 50, I was brash enough to think I could make a difference by entering into highly risky ventures. Looking back, it was fun, but so is Disneyland. I am a dreamer whose thoughts and dreams occasionally have a direct correlation with reality.

I can’t say what I dream never happens, but the larger the dream, the less success they seem to have had. One of those things I don’t worry about. My mother-in-law reassures me that one day my ship will come in.

Since I turned 50, I am better at addressing my worry, my fear, my mistrust. I analyze angst historically. I used to fear dark basements. Now I can almost walk in a lightless cellar without fear of what is at my feet.

Well, almost — and in mine, not yours. WTF has morphed into WTFC. Worry-Trust-Fear-Commonsense. An acronym almost bliss.

Bob Ritchie is pastor of Bennington Congregational Church and a regular contributor.

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