Thursday, April 19, 2018

Trying Not To Worry

87626174F058 (1024x819)I am heading into the weekend before we head down to Stanford for another PET scan to see if I am cancer-free. The PET scan I had early in March showed a small spot on one lymph node which the doctor did not think to be significant, but he wanted another scan to make sure. We rescheduled for 7 weeks later (April 24) and he told me not to worry about it. Then he laughed and said “I know you will worry; it’s hard not to.” So it has been over 6 weeks of waiting (Arrg, that world again!) and I have been trying to “not worry about it,” and mostly succeeding, with a couple bad nights where the worry got to me. I thought it might help me to write down a few things about how I’ve tried to avoid worrying. It’s not really profound, but hopefully it might help you too.

  1. Stay focused on God. Honestly, this month it has been hard to pray. I try to imagine myself in the heavenly throne room of God (Hebrews 4.16) and joining in the Trinity’s prayer for me (Romans 8.26). That helps a lot. I also try to focus on hearing God, whether it comes directly, through the Word, through other Christians or however God wants to deliver it to me. It is amazing, when I listen, how often God ministers to me and encourages me.
  2. Spend a lot of time reading and thinking about the words of scripture. This has been important to me for most of my life, but has been especially critical these last couple of years. I try to read something every day and work through the whole Bible over the course of each year. Along with that I try to read books by other people that are “steeped” in the Bible. It is amazing how many times words on the page have come alive and leaped into my situation to bring me God’s peace or challenge me.
  3. Spend time with Christians who encourage me and keep me doing #1 above. I wish I could do this more. So many people have come by “just at the right time” or said something to me or did something that touched a nerve or helped me in ways that went beyond what they thought or did. Interacting with others moves my focus from myself (which can get deep and dark at times) out to the wider world. I like having somebody else to pray for instead of just being focused on my own requests. Besides, having real live people right in front of you is the best way to connect.
  4. Enjoy my family. Joyce and I have been able to spend a week of vacation with the families of two of our children and we hope to go to Cincinnati to spend time with Mike’s family this summer. It is hard to worry when I am watching vintage cartoons with Leila or having a serious conversation about Pokemon. I also look forward to my Facebook chats with my 2 year old granddaughter Arete and laughing at her jokes 2-3 times a week. I also get some face time with her brother and sisters. To be able to go to San Diego and see my grandson play soccer was also a thrill. To have good relationships with my 30-something kids is also a real blessing. I could go on, but you get the idea. This whole experience has made Joyce and I closer than we have ever been. Also a blessing.
  5. Divert yourself by doing things you enjoy. I like watching sports and reading/watching science fiction. When the above things are in line, these can be a real source of blessing too. It was a fun day when my brother, sister and her husband, and my parents came over and we ate junk food and watched basketball. Not everything has to be so serious. I am blessed with family and friends that make me laugh and laugh at my jokes. As an old rabbi said, “if God gives you something to enjoy and you fail to enjoy it, that is sin.”

So that’s basically my way of coping with the temptation to worry. Don’t worry. Instead talk about it with God and with the people he has placed around you.

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