Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

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Watching the hit TV series Scandal is one of my guilty pleasures. One of the things I love best about the show is the music, which consists mainly of 1970s soul. On the most recent episode, the main character, Olivia Pope, keeps having flashbacks to the moment she was abducted and to the song that was playing on her stereo at the time: “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder.

The irony of that song choice is not lost on the audience, and it struck me in a rather personal way when I thought about it after watching the show. Worry is one of my constant companions. Whether it be about all the things I have to do before my senior’s high school prom and graduation, helping my eighth grader juggle three sports and demanding schoolwork, or whether my college senior is safe down in Austin, Texas, where one university student was recently murdered and another succumbed to a poison gas leak – I can’t seem to turn off the anxiety.

I will wake up in the wee hours of the morning with a palpable sense of dread, and the wheels in my mind will start spinning. Even my dreams reveal my worry wart nature. I usually dream of being unprepared for something: a class I have to teach, a party I’m giving etc. I worry about everything from looming deadlines to my kids’ safety to the possibility of getting cancer. Ironically, all this worry is what will probably make me sick.

There are numerous passages in the Bible that discuss worry. Mostly they say not to do it. St. Paul, for instance, exhorts believers, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6) In the gospels, Jesus is continually telling his followers, “Do not be afraid.” I just have a hard time following this advice.

Maybe the reason I like escapist entertainment like Scandal is that I’d rather watch the trials and tribulations of fictional characters than dwell on my own. Enjoying the love triangles, political intrigue, and danger, as well as the funky soundtrack, sure beats waiting for the other shoe to drop.

 

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