“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – Matthew 6:27
Driving down the street this past week I saw the following quote on a marquis in front of a church: “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday,” it said. Just stop for a moment and let that roll around in your head a bit. . . . . “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
This reminded me of Mark Twain who once said he had known a lot of troubles in his life and most of them never happened. It’s like “The Mountain in Labor” story from Aesop’s fables. “A mountain was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard, and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a mouse. [The moral of the story is . . .] Don’t make much ado about nothing.”
Most of our worries are like that, much ado about nothing. During my long-time former career as a bond trader it was inevitable that the market would occasionally retreat, but sometimes those retreats would digress into downward spirals. As a trader holding positions those were gut-wrenching, cold-sweat, sleepless-night kinds of times. In fact, I have to admit as I got older those times did not get any easier but grew even more stressful and became the driving force behind my decision to leave the business before it affected my health and impacted my family. On the other hand, there never was a down cycle during my entire career – no matter how stressful – that I did not survive and find that there was blue sky on the other side. Yes, such times did require prudent and aggressive management, plus a lot of hard work, but never ended in total disaster. In the midst of the storm it felt like that mountain in labor, but in the end out came nothing but a mouse. Sometimes I would even ask myself why I worried so much. And life went on.
“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” And who of us by worrying can add a single hour to his life? By contrast, do you ever wonder how many hours of our lives have been lost from worrying? Most of us are like Mark Twain; we’ve known a lot of troubles in our lives, but most of them never happened.