“Worry is the dark room in which negatives develop.” -Church Billboard

We have been visited by our dreaded spring malady of poison oak again. We live in the midst of acres of forest and fields that is owned by the oak. We may pay the mortgage, but there is no question about who owns the space. All of my children react to the plant in differing symptoms and intensity. Over ten years I have more than dog-eared the homeopathic manual of remedies for oak, I have almost memorized it. The kids have all become very conscious of early warning signs and as a family we have learned how to live more or less peaceably with the plants as neighbors.

My eldest daughter reacts most intensely and she somehow missed the early signs, so we are in a full blown painful explosion, when the rash takes on a life of its own. It has been a long time since I have seen these kind of welts. I know she will recover, I have seen her recover before. But even after 20 years of parenting it is still true that a mother is only as well as her least well child.

I texted her the quote from the church billboard because I wanted her to not worry, even if she was in pain. I wanted her to not turn it into a story which is a stone’s throw from the intense and relentless discomfort that poison oak can bring. Worry makes anything we are working to solve or bear more difficult. I can’t think of a single good reason to worry, yet it is like a cloak that can fall over you when you aren’t looking and change the way you see the world.

This is a big and busy week. The final performance for the angel conference is on Thursday. It is easy to feel like I am suffocating from the cloak of worry. Then I focus on the immediate needs of poison oak treatments, of the prayers of healing that I wrap all my acts in, and I remember how small it all is. Why worry?