I know better?

Luke with one of my mittens in his mouth

Luke with one of my mittens in his mouth

I called my father several weeks ago, and his voice sounded off. He said that he had a cold and felt terrible so he’d call when he was feeling better. I week passed, without hearing from him, so I called again, and again he said that he’d call when he was feeling better, but he hasn’t. His wife is a very good care taker, so it’s not a case of him being all alone and needing my help, and he isn’t asking for my help, at all.

As I was falling asleep last night, several thoughts/questions went through my mind about him. “He is 88 years old, maybe I should be a little more insistent about talking with him and checking in”. The next thought was “Why? Just because he is 88? Why are you (Mary) having a hard time respecting his wishes just because he is elderly?”

He told me what he wanted: to call me when he was feeling better (when he felt like it). So would my call really be for him, or would it be for myself, so I could feel better? I knew the answer, and as I looked at it like that, I could feel that pushing my will was selfish and self-centered. I opted to hold him in my heart as I fell asleep, imagining his smiling face, and I felt peace.

He is under no obligation to call me, and if I am worried then that is truly my problem. Worry is never helpful. It exhausts us, and feels terrible when we are the recipients (energetically) of another person’s worry. I love my father, and today I’m choosing to show him that love by respecting his wishes. Sometimes life is so easy, and the direction that I have been given is so clear, that I miss it,… thinking that I know better.

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry.” Mahatma Gandhi

22 thoughts on “I know better?

    • That is wonderful Deborah! Thank you for letting me know this, love to you today, Mary

  1. Mary, the first place my mind wants to go is worry, but my experience tells me to replace a bad habit with a positive one….so now I try to WONDER about the outcome, and not WORRY about it! I guess for me it’s about replacing fear with faith. Easier said than done but you sharing your own experience has a whole lot of power…….thank you!

  2. One thing that JUMPED out at me was when you stated that worry feels terrible when we are the recipients (energetically) of another person’s worry:

    “if I am worried then that is truly my problem. Worry is never helpful. It exhausts us, and feels terrible when we are the recipients (energetically) of another person’s worry.”

    This is so meaningful to me – when and if I worry about my grown children. I know I send that worry energy out there. I used to feel “loved” when people worried about me. Now I am aware that this awakens fear in me.

    I think it boils down to —– “All we need is love….

    What you are doing is showing that you love, respect and listen to him.

    LOVE to YOU and to ALL of us.

    Mary

    P.S. Luke is very handsome.

  3. I am a worrier and I have written here one of my own “home grown” quotes that was in one of my posts. It is something that I struggle with most days but maybe I am a tad better than in some points of my life.

    I do hope that your dad is getting along just fine. Maybe he simply has nothing to say and/or does not feel like talking. I have those days myself.

    “Definition of a worrywart: I worry when I am not worried thinking that something is terribly amiss and I had better find out what it is that I have missed to worry about.”- by Yvonne Daniel

    • Dear Yvonne, I got up this morning feeling ominous; decided it must be gas, then read your definition of a worrywort. It brought a smile to my face.
      SandyP in canada

      • Thanks so much for letting me know “worrywart” made you smile.

        But do you have a blog? I can’t seem to find one connected to your name but maybe I am not doing something right which is generally the case for me anyway. 🙂 Or, are you “the Kindness Blog?”

        Regards,
        ~yvonne

  4. Amen to this post! Worry is like continuing to spin your wheels in the mud when you already know you are good and stuck – useless. Mary Solomon, thanks for sharing the Beatles video – what a legacy they left and they actually were together a relatively short time. I’ll be hearing this all morning! Happy day to all.

  5. The scientist Lewis Thomas coined the term ‘transcendental meta-worry” for people who seem to actively pursue things to worry about. I think being an adult child is a wonderful challenge, and shutting out the voices (including one’s own sometimes) telling you how you should be handling the older people in your life requires grace and firmness. My mother and my aunt really did used to worry themselves sick over anything, and their family was usually the recipient of their worrying. I’m sure they saw it as a sign of their love for us, but it was frequently stifling for us, and fearful and exhausting for them.

  6. This is so true, Mary, in all areas of my life. Language is important. Compelling others to feel as I do is something I’ve become more mindful of in latter years. As an example, at lunch today, my husband decided to cook weiners for hot dogs for himself. Our stove has different sized burners. The one he chose was smaller than the pot he chose and I moved the pot over to the size appropriate burner. “See” I tried to point out to him “this is the correct burner for that size pot”. He took the pot, moved it back to the small burner and guess what my politically incorrect response was: “I know you’re determined to do things your way” and left the room. How’s that for not paying attention to the right language to use?! I also said: “you’re rigid”. Even worse. The only positive in all this is that he hardly pays attention to what I say….(smile)….
    SandyP in Canada where the sun is shining brightly.

  7. I love you Mary, thanks for your wisdom and insights AND for taking the time to pass it along to all of us. Blessed Be

  8. Once again such a timely post for me. My 80 year old Dad has recently been diagnosed with Lung Cancer (but we found out just yesterday that the prognosis is very, very good.) and I have found myself considering who I am most worried about. Him and my Mom? or ME. Thank you!

  9. Good blog entry for a reminder to me as my father is 83, lives alone and is many states away. He recently came for our son’s wedding and we had a little time to visit, the two of us. He seemed well. It is hard to tell on the phone sometimes. I like Ghandi’s quote.

  10. “Wow” is what comes to mind upon reading this today… You are always so insightful Mary. I am prone to be a worrier myself and deep down know it serves no useful purpose. What really struck me today was your pointing out that what, or who, I really might be worried about when dealing with others or situations is ME!

  11. Hi Mary, I loved this post. I’d say you came to the right conclusion in respecting your Dad’s request. I used to think worry was love. But it isn’t. I went through an awful time last year and my therapist had me make a list of all the things I was worried about. That list was so long. So incredibly random. If I look at it now I laugh! He once said to me,” You know who Woody Allen is?”
    Luke certainly isn’t the least bit worried about having your mitten in his mouth!
    Thanks Mary, Cindy

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