Monday, May 08, 2006

If the phone doesn't ring, it's me

"For only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain." --- Richard M. Nixon.

If life has taught me anything, it's this: Things ain't as bad as they seem.

Take this weekend. A good friend had convinced himself he was going to lose his job. In spite of all rational evidence, and all the signs pointing to the contrary, he just knew he was gone.

He lost sleep. Worried himself to death. Tortured himself.

Today he finds out he has nothing to worry about. His job is safe.

I can relate only too well. I told myself this past weekend that I was going to lose something I hold dear. It was gone, I thought. That's it. Pull the curtain down. Thanks for coming. It's over. The fat lady has sung. The end. Time to ride off into the sunset.

Not even close.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why, when uncertainty comes our way, do we imagine the worst possible scenario? Or automatically assume the worst?

Sometimes the only barriers that exist are the ones in our minds.

Take baseball. I've been so bummed this week about losing longtime Atlanta Braves announcers Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Don Sutton, Joe Simpson and Chip Caray. Thanks to a deal between Turner South and Fox Sports, the majority of the Braves games will be broadcast by other announcers.

OK, it sucks. But life goes on. I got the Sox to watch. I look forward to whiling away the hours hypnotized by the green of that left field wall at Fenway.

I can watch the Cards. Or the Tigers. Or, God forgive me, the Yankees. Skip, Pete and the gang will be around for a few games on TBS and nearly every game on the radio. This ain't the end of the world.

You know what? I've made a deal with myself. From here on out, there ain't gonna be any more worries. At least on the small stuff. We'll save our old friend worry for the important things -- sickness, financial struggles and deaths in the family.

The rest of it? Well, I just ain't gonna go there anymore. Life is too good. Too many positive things are happening right now.

So, with apologies to Jimmy Buffett, if the phone doesn't ring, you'll know that it's me. I'll be out in the eye of the storm. I'll be out there living life, not too worried about things that just don't matter.

OK, so the song is right. Sometimes it is too bad we can't turn and live in the past. Things may not work out like you want here in the present. Sometimes small stuff is going to get in your way.

But you know what? It's OK. The future looks bright.

I'm not going to worry about it anymore.


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