Boundaries will be my “word” for 2014. Unlike Patience (2012) and Joy (2013), this word is very clear to me but harder to explain.
I have a time-honored habit of worrying and especially about those near and dear to me. I attribute it to being a precocious child, surrounded by adults. Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that I was …Well, this anecdote says it all. In November of 1965, a young boy was walking along the street, carrying a stick and hitting lamp poles as he walked along. All of a sudden, everything went dark , not just on his street but in the whole Northeast. The young boy went home and hid under his bed because he was sure he was the cause of the blackout.
And there’s the problem: I feel overly responsible for what happens in the lives of others, even though intellectually I know I have no control over that. Some years ago, sitting on the couch in my wonderful sun room, I looked out at the white ash tree in my backyard. It did not take an arborist to figure out that the tree was not in the best of health. At the same time, my beloved Aunt Florine was in failing health. I remember thinking, “ Everyone is concerned and worried about the world/country situation but I am the only one who is worrying about Florine and the tree,” as if that would help. Yet, it some foolish way, I felt it would.
So my goal this year, by concentrating on “Boundaries,” is to disentangle myself from others’ lives by reminding myself that I don’t really know the answer to their situation, and they wouldn’t listen to me even if I did.
I have little desire to stop worrying, in general, if that’s what you call it. Worrying is as much a part of me as green eyes. There’s an old story, one of my favorites, where a man is standing on the corner snapping his fingers. Someone comes along and asks, “Why are you snapping your fingers?” He replies, “To keep the tigers away.” The second person says, “There aren’t any tigers around here,” to which the first man replies with a look of satisfaction, “Works, doesn’t it!”
© Dorothy C. Judd
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