by Larry Johnson
It’s uncertain what the weather will be like next week or how the stock market will be performing. It’s uncertain if we’ll be in an accident or have a flat tire on our way to the supermarket this afternoon. It’s uncertain who the new neighbors will be moving in across the street.
It’s uncertain if gasoline prices will remain low through Christmas. It’s uncertain if there will be more victims of the Ebola virus in the U.S. It’s uncertain if I will get the flu this fall or if my prostate cancer will return. It’s uncertain how long we’re going to live and just as uncertain about how we’re going to die.
Uncertainty is everywhere, all around us, and it makes us feel anxious, worried and afraid.
I went to the dentist recently to have a tooth pulled. It was something I had been putting off for a year and a half. It was an upper front tooth, and I was anxious about how I was going to look and sound without it. I had knocked it loose one day bending over in my bathroom.
Thinking that perhaps I could heal it, I took calcium tablets every day for a year. Finally I came to accept that it needed to come out. But because it was so loose I worried that the dentist might have to go in and dig out the root. I was told it would be six weeks before I could be fitted with a bridge.
Oh no, six weeks looking like the “Snaggle Tooth” monster. But finally I went in, and the dentist took less than five seconds to remove it. It was over. No pain. No digging out roots. And I would get my new bridge in three weeks, not six.
It was the uncertainty about the experience of going to the dentist that had overwhelmed me with worry, fear and anxiety.
It is really amazing and unfortunate that we should waste so many minutes of our lives being consumed by worry, fear and anxiety over the uncertainties of life when life, by its very nature, is full of uncertainty. In fact, it is this unpredictability of life that makes it such an exhilarating and exciting adventure.
When I leave my house today, I have no way of knowing what interesting people I may meet, new things I may learn, wonderful experiences I may enjoy. My day will be filled with surprise and uncertainty. It took a visit to the dentist to remind me of this reality.
It was Helen Keller who wrote: “Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing at all.” She was so right. And that’s how I see it.