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Crazy for Ewe
  • Worry is not your friend
  • Ellen Lewis
Worry is not your friend

Don't let worry suck the happy from your life

A few weeks ago I had what I thought was a no-big-deal health issue.  I went to the doctor, and all of a sudden I need a biopsy. Wait.  What?  I'm not a medical professional by any stretch, but even a layman like me knows that biopsy is another way of saying, Hey, you might have cancer.  So I submitted to the procedure, and went home to do what any right thinking person does after a biopsy.  I worried.

I spent most of the next week worrying.  What if I do have cancer?  What if I need surgery? What if I die?  It was like a weight around my neck, a pall over everything I did.  Like a kiss from an Azkaban dementor the worry sucked every happy thought from my mind and turned my whole world dark.  Finally, Sunday, my husband took me gently by the shoulders and said it's going to be fine.  You're going to be fine.  Stop Worrying.  Your worrying is not helpful.  You're going to be fine...but if not, we'll deal with it together.  But worrying won't change anything.  He was right.  It's hard to let go when we're afraid, but we must. 

worry and fear are singularly unproductive emotions robbing us of all the happiness and opportunities for joy in our life.  They presume the worst and become a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy.  We worry that we will be miserable, and so we are miserable. 

I see the same kind of worry creep into the thoughts of knitters, both new and experienced.  The outcome is uncertain, so there is fear and worry that steals the joy from our very hands.  Instead of focusing on the yarn's glorious color,  how wonderful it feels in our hands, and how rhythmic the motion, we let uncertainty fester in our mind.  What if it doesn't fit? I don't think I can seam this thing right. What if it looks bad? 

Let me take you (and myself) gently by the shoulders and say, Stop Worrying. It will fit.  We'll help you seam it, and it will look wonderful.  And if it doesn't, we'll fix it together.  Either way, the only thing worry changes is our outlook and our capacity for joy.  And so, while I wait for my own results, I will knit, and I will focus on the feel of the yarn, the calm of the knitting, the unseasonably beautiful July weather, and all the other joys in this life.  I hope you will join me.

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here.  ~Ellen

Back to 10 July 2018 Newsletter

  • Ellen Lewis

Comments on this post ( 9 )

  • Jul 13, 2018

    Dear Ellen,
    I am sorry to learn of the cause of your worry. While it is a way of life, it does take its toll. I worried about my husband of 58 years while he was ill. But faith has a way of getting us through whatever the situation, including the worry. I"ll keep you in my prayers, and as you indicated, your husband has your back and his love for you will help you endure.

    And may I say that as a new knitter, I loose myself every time I pick up my needles and make a mistake, and remember what you told my at the retreat “it can be fixed”. I feel that way about your worry. And I am so happy to have you as a new friend and mentor.

    You are a beautiful person and you will get through it.

    Pat Crummer

    — Pat Crummer

  • Jul 10, 2018

    Dear Ellen,
    I hope all goes well with the results. I will hold positive thoughts. It looks like you have a great support group of friends. That always helps. Best Wishes, Andrea U.

    — Andrea Uravitch

  • Jul 10, 2018

    Love, hugs and prayers during this trying time. Charles and I have had biopsies resulting in a diagnosis of cancer and we got through it with the support of one another and friends. You cannot help but worry just a little bit but you have Bill, your family and friends helping you along the way. ❤️🤗🙏

    — Anne

  • Jul 10, 2018

    Sending love and prayers for peace, joy and healing!

    — Barbara Beliveau

  • Jul 10, 2018

    I am sorry to hear of your worry and love that Bill is helping you to focus on now, not later. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Hugs.

    — Laura Abramson

  • Jul 10, 2018

    Dear Ellen,

    Worry can be transformed into research and thoughtful
    deciding about steps. A support group can be helpful at this phase, but if it isn’t, just don’t return!

    My husband and I are both cancer patients, and we have found how many options there now are. Prospects are SO much better — and life is still very good. At times the treatment can be hard or annoying.tying, but at other times
    one learns a lot that is useful in ways other than directly regarding cancer.

    Our best wishes, Ann and Everett

    — Ann Bo.yer

  • Jul 10, 2018

    To follow on Leah’s lead, here’s a quote I have by my desk: Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble; it empties today of its strength. Every time you feel worry, it’s a signal to pray. Turn worry into worship.
    Your analogy with knitting is spot on. When I start to worry about a project, I think of your saying, “It’s KNITTING.” Then I keep going and try to enjoy it.

    And I hope the biopsy turns out to be no big deal.

    PS You have a great husband.

    — Amy

  • Jul 10, 2018

    I can totally relate – I had to have a surprise biopsy last year, and it was nerve-wracking. (Thankfully it was benign!) Knitting is my relief from worry – it is a beautiful thing how with a little tug, you can pull away any mistakes, and try again. Or create something else entirely. Sticks and string and patience. <3

    — Stacey

  • Jul 10, 2018

    Worry is.a great rut to stay in and you are absolutely right it isn’t a happy habit. The complete opposite is moving ahead and doing something and knitting is such a great thing to do instead.

    Praying is also a great thing to do with fear…grace hope and peace come from that action.

    — Leah

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