It’s hard, but try not to worry

October 11, 2020

A great book to read to children is “Wemberly Worried” by Kevin Henkes. In this story, Wemberly worries about everything. What if a tree falls on her house? What if something comes out of the crack in the living room wall? Are the bolts on a swing too rusty?

This book is great for adults who worry, too. The other day, several of my friends were talking about safe practices for COVID in the grocery store.

“Why don’t people follow the directions on aisle floors?” Diane asked. “The other day this lady was going the wrong way. So I said something to her and she answered, “I’m just going to the middle and then I’ll make a U-turn!”

One friend said she watched a person walking backward down an entire aisle with their cart when they realized their error, but they were stopping to toss in items. It does take some getting used to, doesn’t it?

I love it when everything is clearly marked. Stand here, the circle sticker says. So I stand there. When someone moves off their circle, I get excited to move up to theirs. Look at me now! I got their circle.

Wemberly’s biggest worry as she goes to school is whether or not she’ll have a friend to play with. One of my close friends is worried about where she’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. Some of us are already worried about winter and feeling isolated more.

I worry about Christmas and the agony of separation from my family, and it’s only October. So much is out of our control right now. We know that worry only makes matters worse, so maybe we have to distract ourselves.

Last weekend, I got to play with my grandchildren. We hiked a trail and collected hickory nuts. We got to swing on the swing set. We toasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

We went inside a grove of magnolia trees and were able to stand up. It was our magic forest to enjoy, and no one could see us or harm us.

Now that fall has arrived and it’s getting dark earlier, my plan is to spend as much time outside as I can. There are no arrows on the sidewalks or in the streets or in our lovely parks or at the beach.

I just FaceTimed a friend in the UK whose husband Martin is beginning chemotherapy for cancer. Their worry makes me feel like Wemberly. Childish.

If worrying too much gets worse as we get older, I am in big trouble. I hope you get a chance to find your own grove of trees or simply watch the leaves fall from the sky. Maybe pay closer attention to the arrows which help guide us to safety.

Try not to worry!

Write to


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter