Jeanne and I just returned from two weeks’ vacation. There were plenty of people we would have liked to have seen on this trip. However, to do so would have worn us out. So our list was short this time.
My dad is approaching 98 years of age. Along with my sister Jan and brother-in-law Chet, we took him to his 80th high school reunion in Chimacum. He was the second-oldest person represented.
We also visited another relative. She was just days away from her 98th birthday. She still lives in her condominium but now with a full-time caregiver. In recent years, when we have greeted her, we always wondered if she would recognize us. Every time, she did not disappoint and consistently greeted us by name and with a warm smile.
That said, on this particular visit, we realized that she was slipping a bit.
Shortly after beginning her story, I excused myself from the room and asked her caregiver if it were true. Thankfully, I was told that it was a figment of her imagination. When I returned to the room, I used sign language to indicate to my wife that it was not based upon reality.
We were told that her condo was going to be torn down to make room for a new highway. Also, she was very worried about just how she would gather up all of her belongings and find a new place to stay. She was quite anxious about this and brought it up four times.
She called this project “The 100 year highway.” As details were revealed, we learned that this expanse of pavement would not only go through her home, but across the United States, and the entire world.
In Matthew 6: 27, Jesus says: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
One way of looking at this is asking if there is any advantage of worrying. I am not aware of any, whether real or imagined.
When I am able to manage this well, I enjoy life more. I wish I could master this. I wish I was perfect about it, but I am wonderfully flawed.
Sometimes I still worry and sometimes I don’t.
One day, I imagine that I should just stop worrying about this. Today, that is a reality.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.