I believe that, in many ways, we are the sum of our experiences. Some of those experiences are uniquely formative, standing out among all the others, and laying the foundation for our overall philosophies toward life. And it's not easy to predict just what will make such a lasting impression; sometimes, often times, it's the at first seemingly inconsequential exchanges that have the biggest impact.
I'd to share with you one of the stories from my childhood whose moral has become part of my personal canon and which continues to inform my choices even today. Instead of trying to re-tell it in the third person, I asked my dad to remind me of the specifics, and I've posted his email explanation here.
When I was a teenager, my dad hired a painter to spray paint the barn we had. My job was to use the brush to cut in around the glass windows. The painter was a really funny guy who was from Albania and spoke with an accent. He saw that I was being too careful with my work and so he said: "Why you worry? Not your living room."
On the surface, it's a funny little story, but this phrase has had a profound impact on me; I've found that its simple philosophy can apply to quite a few not-your-living-room's in my life. "Why you worry?" Yes, why indeed!
Jesus had a lot to say about not worrying:
Matthew 6:25-33 (NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by IBS)
Do Not Worry
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." ♦