When I get worried, one of the best things I can do is sing. I belong to a fabulous chorus and once a week on rehearsal nights I sing for five hours straight. I’ve noticed that if anything was bothering me before I start singing, by the time I get back home I have no worries! I think much of our worry is habit and it’s good to find ways to curb unnecessary worry and know all is well.
Aside from doing something you love to do, I learned a valuable lesson when worry crops up. A few years ago on a beautiful Sunday morning, I decided to visit a new church near Portland, Oregon. I got the address and Terry, my husband, went out to the car and programmed it into our new GPS for me. Back then I didn’t quite trust the thing. (Once it got me going in circles and I’d have circled for hours if I hadn’t recognized the same barn, for the third time.)Because I was not sure of the new gadget, I backed myself up with MapQuest. It said the church was a little over an hour from my home and mostly freeway. I set off out of Woodland, Washington and before I’d gone two miles, Victoria (that’s the name I gave her) popped up in a breathy British accent, “Take the next exit right.”
“Take the next exit right? You idiot we’ve got 60 miles to go,” I replied angrily. She ignored me! “Turn right,” she directed, her sensuous tone threatening to fog up the inside of my windows.” “No!!” I shouted at the Brit stuck to my dashboard!
I told you Terry had programmed the address into the contraption, but I didn’t tell you why. Okay, I hadn’t learned how to do it. . .yet! I also didn’t know how to turn Victoria’s volume down or make her go away, especially while driving 70-miles-per hour.
I know I should have given myself a cushion of time to go to a new destination, but I didn’t. So if I’d taken the time to pull over and figure out how to shut her up, I would have been late to church. Consequently, I was stuck listening to her tell me to “take the next right” at every possible exit off I-5, for the next 59 miles all the way to the church!
But something very interesting happened mid-trip. Because I had the MapQuest directions as backup, I knew that Victoria was wrong. Relentlessly wrong! So, I just tuned her out of my mind. When I got to the church I looked at the address Terry had punched into Victoria. Instead of the city being Lake Oswego (a suburb of Portland) he had hit La Center (the small town right next to Woodland). No wonder Victoria kept trying to get me off the freeway. She thought we were going to La Center.
When I got settled and quiet in church, it struck me that Victoria was like one of those nagging worry thoughts that take over our peace. We can forget that all is well and let those worry thoughts drag us down if we let them. But we don’t have to let them. When I start to get into a worry mode I just remember Victoria and I say to myself, “Shut up Victoria, no worries,” and I get on with my business of being happy.