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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Postpone Worry, Not Happiness!

I have read somewhere something so simple, yet so profound – “Every minute that we spend worrying, we miss out on living!”

On Christmas eve, a man named John boarded a plane and settled down in his seat in the front row of economy class. He looked morose and beaten. He was going home for Christmas, just as almost every other passenger on the plane was. After the doors were closed, the captain emerged from the cockpit wearing a Santa cap. He picked up the public address microphone in the front of the aircraft and said that since the airline was celebrating its 25th anniversary, everyone on board will receive a coupon that will entitle them to two free return tickets to Las Vegas and back – from wherever they lived in the US, as long as their city was serviced by the airline. Every passenger on board cheered in delight. People clapped. A couple of them in the front jumped up and hugged the captain. But John was listless. He was not excited. He was looking the same – distraught, disturbed and forlorn. A slightly older man, Greg, sat next to him. Greg didn’t know John from before but was amused that his co-passenger was not happy with the airline’s surprise offer!

Greg asked John: “Did you hear that – two free return tickets to Vegas? Are you not excited?”  

John replied: “I did hear that. But I have so much on my mind. I am unable to celebrate this offer.”

Greg prodded on: “Is something worrying you? Do you want to talk about it?”

John replied: “Something? Everything’s worrying me – My wife’s been sick with cancer for over 2 years. She’s not getting any better. My job is lousy but I have to keep it because I need the money to pay for her treatment and to support my son’s tuition as he goes to college in a few months. Our home needs renovation but I haven’t enough savings to be able to do that. Isn’t all this enough to put a good man down?”

Greg put his hand on John’s hand, which was on the armrest, squeezed it and said: “Let me tell you a story….A man and a married woman are making love when her husband comes home unexpectedly. The poor man has no choice – the husband can come in any moment – so, naked as he is, he jumps out of the bedroom window. Outside it is cold and raining, and a group of joggers are running by. Having nothing better to do, he joins in. After a while a man running next to him asks, “Hey, do you always run naked?” “Yes,” says the man as he keeps jogging along. “And do you always wear a condom when you run?” asked the other man. “No,” he answers, “only when it is raining.””

John burst out laughing. He laughed so loudly and for several minutes, non-stop, that the flight’s crew, who were readying the plane for take-off, were alarmed. They rushed to John to check if everything was okay with him. They couldn’t believe that the most sullen passenger on board, who didn’t even get excited when the Captain announced that freebie, was laughing so hard. Was he mad, they wondered? John couldn’t even answer their queries. He was in splits. He held his stomach and laughed as Greg smiled mischievously beside him. After almost 20 minutes, John calmed down and thanked Greg for making him laugh.

John said: “You know Sir! I haven’t had a laugh in months now. Thank you!”

Greg asked John a question in reply: “When you were hearing my story and then laughing, in that time, did your worries trouble you? I mean did you care to worry?”  

John replied emphatically: “Of course not! How could I worry? Your story was so hilarious. I couldn’t think of anything else but of the man running naked with a condom on and justifying his action with a straight face!”

Greg said: “My dear friend. This is how you postpone worrying. Your worries cannot solve any of your problems. Your worrying about your wife’s cancer cannot cure it. Your worrying about your son’s tuition cannot help you pay it. Your worrying about renovating your home cannot make it look better than it is now. When you are steeped in worry, you are missing Life!”

There’s a great lesson in the conversation between Greg and John. Which is – worrying serves no purpose. If worrying about our problems can help us solve them, none of us will be having any problems. Because most of us are worrying all the time – aren’t we?! Worrying takes us away from living, from happiness. The biggest price we pay by worrying about the Life we want or don’t have, is that we lose the opportunity to be happy with the Life we have. Instead, if we focused on whatever is with us, on whatever is happening, and stopped worrying, we will live better, happier and healthier lives!

1 comment:

  1. A great lesson indeed. Every second worrying means every second lost in leading happy life. In India, we have NEW YEAR and your blog is apt for New Year resolution.