Last week I went shopping and had the misfortune to deal with a very disagreeable shop assistant.
It seemed she went out of her way to show me what a truly wretched day she must have been having. After getting home, I realized one of the items I’d purchased was not really the size I needed, so I’d have to go back to the shop and deal with Ms. Unhappy again.
However, things got busy and it was a few days before I could return.
All the while somewhere in the back of my head was a very low level dread of returning to have Ms. Unhappy attempt to spread her lack of cheer again.
I made double, then triple sure I had my receipt, that I was well within the store’s return policy, and steeled myself to be thoroughly maltreated.
Shockingly, the clerk wasn’t at all unpleasant. She wasn’t a ray of sweet sunshine, but she wasn’t horrid. She did her job and moved on. Whatever had her aggravated a few days ago had passed.
When I was younger, I felt I was the only person who thought of things like this: dreading going back to a store where the attendants were rude, fearing to go see a doctor who was brusque, fretting over classes where the teacher obviously didn’t like me and made a point to call on me more than my fair share.
Minor, minor fears. Small vexatious worries. Yet they’re lethal to peace. They don’t drain our emotional batteries rapidly, but they do drain them.
These minor “wars” form part of the emotional clutter that resides in the background of our minds. They’re always running on and on, a constant babble of, “oh dear, what if this should happen, what if that should happen.”
It’s these small wars between serenity and worry that often suck the life out of us. We look for solutions for problems that don’t exist yet. We emotionally expect rain and carry an umbrella with us even though the sun is shining (granted, that’s quite rare around here, but you take my meaning).
We’ve all heard the pithy saying, “hope for the best but plan for the worst,” and there’s nothing wrong with planning and forethought.
There’s nothing wrong with planning and forethought as long as it doesn’t rob today of its joy!