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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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Time and worry (09/20/2006)
By Frances Edstrom

My kids' piano teacher used to tell them that "The things you worry about the most rarely happen. So worry about everything!" In other words, she was telling them, take care of the things you can control, and then let it go. There are some things you just can't control. It's a wise lesson, but no matter how hard I try, sometimes I can't help but worry.

Tomorrow I go to the doctor to find out if I can get a new hip on Friday. I've spent the last three months doing what I was told would get rid of the infection that scuttled my last hip prosthesis (and the one before that!). I should be feeling confident, as all the signs are positive that the antibiotics worked, modern medicine has prevailed, and I will soon be walking on two feet.

But it's those moments of darkness that appear suddenly and unexpectedly " waking in the night after hearing a noise, reading bad news in the papers, hearing of a friend's misfortune, feeling a twinge of pain where there shouldn't be one " that are hard to banish.

As I write, I can look out my window at the same neighborhood scene I've been gazing at since June. I can look at it in one of two ways: as having missed fully enjoying three months, or that the interminable wait I faced in June is nearly over.

Let me count the signs that encourage me, that reward me for waiting patiently.

The trees that surround my house have been counting the days with me, and now the maple in the front yard, which always welcomes fall first, is turning scarlet in honor of the end of my confinement. The squirrels surround the two oaks, gathering the acorns that the trees have been preparing for them all summer long. It's almost time, they say.

Out of the blue, I got a call from a woman in Valdosta, Georgia, whose Galesville sister, Bonnie Truax, sent her some of my columns about the hip problems I've been having. She gave me hope. She was without a hip for an entire year because of infection (makes complaining about my three months hipless seem rather self-indulgent), and now she is walking three miles a day! That news buoyed me up for at least a week. See, I said to myself, everything will be okay.

And I mustn't forget the coming birth of a daughter to my daughter Morgan and her husband, Dan. I am not the only one in the family waiting, and their wait has been much longer!

Life goes on, is the message all around me. Time passes. If I've been able to use that time well, the rewards for another year under my belt (and it does seem to accumulate there, doesn't it) far outnumber the wrinkles, pains and scars of aging.

The trees that were mere twigs when we planted them years ago with such faith that they would grow are now grown and give us shade in the summer and leaves to rake into piles for kids to jump in when they fall. The flowers we planted in the spring reward us with a fine show; the vegetables that started out as seeds will feed us during the long winter. The mortgage payments that we thought would never end when we signed the papers twenty-five years ago are done. Our children grow up and take the lessons they've learned at home out into the world. They return our love to us in a million ways. They have children of their own.

Love grows deeper and broader at once. In the face of all that wonder, worrying about the temporary and the temporal seems silly, doesn't it. 


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