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Coping skills when life is no rose garden

Worrying is like a rocking chair.

In a recent episode, Fr Leo M Clifford OFM, host of EWTN’s Reflections, shared with viewers on the topic, ‘How to Handle Worry’.

He quoted the Gospel of Luke 21, as the reference of Jesus, our Saviour, being aware of the stress and anxiety we face on a daily basis as we deal with the uncertain aspects of life.

Anxiety, Fr Clifford shared, does more damage to the souls of human beings than wars and hurricanes combined. “No wonder we say at Mass every day after the ‘Our Father’: ‘preserve us from all anxiety as we wait…’,” he said.

God knows every situation we face, and though, as Fr Leo reminds us, we were never promised a rose garden, He has promised to sustain us through all our trials.

Quoting the words of the ‘Serenity Prayer’, where we ask for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference, Fr Leo reminded viewers that today is all we have and when we pray “Give us this day our daily bread”, we are praying for the coping skills to deal with our trials, so that like St Paul we can declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”.

Fr Leo advised that part of our “coping with worry” strategy should be not losing our serenity and peace by magnifying the little things which confront us daily. While I am aware that this is easier said than done, believing that God is always with us, working in and through us, we are filled with His grace which enables us to stand on His Word.

I once heard it said, that worrying is like a rocking chair. In spite of the backward and forward movement, it takes us nowhere! But listening to Fr Leo share on the five truths (see sidebar), we should come to terms with the reality that giving in to the worry and anxiety really proves to be an exercise in futility since without a deep and meaningful relationship with the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we will be unable to emerge from and rise above our trials, challenges and anxieties. We cannot do it alone!

We all have situations to be anxious and worry about, each one with different contexts, diverse dynamics, but similar pain. The five truths shared by Fr Leo I believe are worth pondering on, and as we ponder, we pray, “Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief…”