Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who Me, Worry?

Maggie, my youngest, is a worry wart.

I never thought I’d have a worrisome child, but I do, and she’s it.

Poor girl, her life is filled with “what if’s.”

“What if I’m walking to school and I trip and fall and break my ankle?”

(“Well, one of our neighbors would see you and help you, and, besides, your school is only two blocks away. Chances are I’ll hear you screaming and come find you.”)

“What if the electricity goes out during the storm?”

(“We have a generator, remember?”)

“What if the library doesn’t have the book I wanted to read?”

(“They have a million other books you can check out. Try one of those.”)

I spend a good part of every day telling her, “Don’t worry!”

It’s crazy, too, because on the worry spectrum I am on the completely opposite side. I flit through life like it’s some kind of story book and the ending is already written for me. I pretty much take things as they come, not thinking too much ahead and certainly not worrying about things that are out of my control, which is pretty much everything. So, on this issue, I don’t get Maggie at all. But I try.

I’ve tried lots of different ways of helping her from anticipating any possible problem (she’s pretty good at doing that herself) to just ignoring it (doesn’t really work). Mostly I just say, “Don’t worry!”

One thing that I’ve tried to do, though, is to show Maggie that God is in control, all the time. I’m trying to teach her that putting her trust in God is so much better than worrying about things we can’t control anyway.

So yesterday we had a crisis of worry. I’m down a couple of teenage helpers around here because one is in Costa Rica and the other was at her regular Tuesday babysitting job. Maggie needed to get to basketball camp and back home again by herself because at the time she was in camp I needed to drive my sister to the airport and wouldn’t be home in time to pick her up. She was worried.

Now, the high school where the basketball camp is held, isn’t more than a mile away. I know this because we live too close to qualify for bus service to the high school and the bane of my existence is the drive, twice a day, up there to drop off and pick up kids. My husband would tell them to walk, but I’m a wimp and I’m raising wimpy girls, so I drive them.

Anyway, Maggie and I had planned it all out. I would ride bikes with her part of the way, just to get her across the one busy street she would have to cross. On the way home she would be on her own, but I knew she would be fine.

As we were leaving the house, nervous Nellie (as I like to call her), stopped by the door and asked, “Mom, would you pray with me?” Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?

We stood in the kitchen, arm in arm, and said a short prayer that God would watch over Maggie while she rode her bike and that she wouldn’t be worried about the ride home.

As we got the bikes out of the garage, she seemed kind of excited. After all, it’s not every day that Mom goes on a bike ride with Maggie, not every year even, and she was going to milk it for all it was worth.

“Come on, Mom!” she shouted happily as she headed down the driveway.

“I’m coming,” I said, struggling to get going. I don’t think I’ve ridden my bike in over a year. That’s got to change.

As we reached the sidewalk I looked up to see Maggie’s good friend from school, a beautiful, blonde-headed girl who is as sweet as candy, headed to the same basketball camp and also riding her bike.

“Hey, Maggie, I was just coming by to see if you would want to ride to camp with me today.”

Huh?! Could it be? An answer to prayer just that quickly?

How awesome is God?!

Maggie turned around to look at me with a mixture of joy and consternation on her face. She was so happy that her friend had stopped by, but she also wanted to make sure I would hold up my end of the bargain. I had, after all, told her that I would take her half way there.

“Mom, will you still come with me?” The worry lines were showing on her forehead.

“Sure, I’ll come to get you across Main Street, but then you two go on ahead, O.K.?” That was fine with her, so we all took off.

As we were riding, her friend got a little ahead of us, and I turned to Maggie and said, “You know that was an answer to prayer, don’t you?”

She just smiled, nodded her head, and rode on to basketball camp without a worry in the world.


  1. Oh Shelly--it's so fun to read your life. You're writing down our normal, every-days and somehow elevating them to something timeless. And God bless Maggie...I know what it's like to be a Nervous Nellie. I've got a book for you...:-)

  2. I read everyone of your posts today. You are a jewel, i so enjoued each one of them. Keep on writing. I love looking into others lives to find out that we are all so much alike.