Cart precedes horse: I often find myself with the physical symptoms of worry — a sick stomach, jitteriness — and have to stop myself to wonder, “What am I worried about?” It is ridiculous on the face of it, and more so because I claim to be a woman of faith. Faith ought to preclude worry, no? Still, there it is, jangling my nerves, causing my foot to jiggle in a way that was once (truthfully) interpreted by a psychologist as “a desire to run away.”

What to do with this (often misplaced) worry? After all, all the worry in the world won’t change things. Nor is it my job to do the worrying — I know darned well that God’s got things in hand. Still, as long as there are ways for the world to disconcert us — from floods in Louisiana to earthquakes abroad — there will be worry. How to deal with it? As usual, poetry leads the way.

Peace.
I say I want it
but only after
the itchy blanket of worry
has its way, binding my
legs, making itself heavy on
my body.

Why can’t I skip
straight to peace —
forego torment and
allow the excellent swell
of God to buoy me up?

The sky has never fallen, yet
I crane my neck and cry, “It might, it might.”
Be at peace, little chicken.
The whole of the world will not swallow you
as long as you send your terrors
to heaven, and watch them dissipate
like breath in cold weather, like clouds.

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