Wednesday, March 02, 2011

How many ticks do you need to do at a time?

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]? (Mt 6:25-27, NIV 2011)

That was a question asked by a psychiatrist to a clock who had a nervous breakdown.

At church last Sunday the Gospel was about not worrying. Fr Richard began his homily by a witty anecdote about a clock who was new and had had a nervous breakdown because he worried about the ticks and tocks he had to make in his lifetime. Tick tock for every second. That would be two for a second, 120 for a minute and so on and so forth. The thought of having to tick so many times in his lifetime overwhelmed him and this eventually led him to worry and not to function as a clock anymore.

He went to see a psychiatrist to whom he recounted his worries and the doctor asked the same question above. How many ticks do you need at a time? The clock answered: ONE. The doctor said so just focus on one tick at a time. The clock then went home happy.

Fr Richard reminds that it's not that we shouldn't make plans for the future but to not let worry get in the way of living our lives.


Since I learned of the word worrywart, I have assigned it to myself. I have been a worrier all my life, sometimes if not always poring over trivial matters. I run myself down with every worry, almost like a hypochondriac of worries only to be relieved that not even one third, if none, of my worries would ever materialize.

I have tried to limit my worrying to a bare minimum but sometimes I still go down that road especially when I'm unsure of myself. I look to these verses in Matthew to give me strength and I feel God reassure me that He will take care of me and that I should not worry my head silly over things HE has control over.

I think it is very human to worry because we want to control what happens to our lives. But to what extent can worry help us to achieve our goals? At the start, it can prompt you to act so that the worry disappears. But it is problematic when we stop at worrying, when worrying becomes an obsession and we lose sleep over what we worry about - what to eat, what to cook, where to get this and that, how to achieve this, etc. And it becomes a vicious cycle of doubt, worry, unbelief in one's self, feeling overwhelmed, non-action. Sometimes, when worry becomes too much, instead of acting, we stop. We stop because we tell ourselves that what we do will not matter anyway.

I'm reminded by another story that Boots told me of how her dad told her mom not to cram into a crowded train. Sometimes, God has something better in store for us and it's just up to us to let go of our worries. Another train came past and it was empty and her parents were able to sit comfortably.

Another witty comment from a friend, Luige said: IF you have a problem, then remove the problem. It seemed like a really practical solution.

So, what is the point of worrying when we have a Father who promises to provide for us and all our needs. And how many of us have lengthened our lives with worrying? At best, it serves to shorten it by making us lose precious time poring over our worries and stressing us and causing us sickness.

Which brings me to my final point: The King's Speech. Watching this movie is again another Godsent as God's message for me is to write about not worrying. King George VI stammered because of his many fears. He had to struggle with the unbelief in himself and not believing that he would be king some day. There was a part in the movie where his wife, Elizabeth, said tick-tock. This reminded me of Father's homily and an affirmation that we should live for every tick and not get ahead of ourselves, worrying about tomorrow. Tomorrow may not even come.

So, instead of worrying, live for the moment for it may never come again.