The Weight of Water

Decades ago, a lateral thinker explained the true cost of carrying a burden. Imagine you have a glass of water in your hand held out in front of you — it is important to hold it out for all to see. Is the glass heavy? Not really. You can hold that glass out without shaking. But imagine doing that for 20 minutes… can you feel the muscles asking you to move, change position? Now how heavy is that glass of water? An hour later, same position, your muscles are aching. Later on, the burden of holding out that glass of water becomes too much, your muscles are in spasm, numb, your brain is struggling to keep focus on holding that darn glass of water. You want to escape, have nothing to do with it.

A simple glass of water.

Worries and stresses in life are like that. The actual problems we face are surmountable. Some will be quickly resolved, some will take a little longer, some never seem to go away. If quickly resolved, that glass of water is set down, forgotten. If the worries take a little longer, your muscles ache, dying to put the glass down, be rid of the burden of carrying it. For those worries that never seem to go away? Your stress is overwhelming, your muscles, mind, patience are in tatters, struggling to cope. Life becomes harder.

Every time you have any worry, or life seems overwhelming, the truth is that you are carrying that darn glass. Put it down. Even for a moment, put it down, relax, think about something else. When you need to pick it up again — especially if it is something you can resolve — it’ll be there but your muscles will have had time to recuperate, your stress will have abated.

Reality is always better than worry, better than stressing. That political candidate that seems to want to take us all over a cliff away from our democracy? It is a glass full of worry. Put it down. Look at it realistically. Pay no attention to media news entertainment telling you that you need to focus in on the glass, that you need to worry. You don’t. Think for a moment. Put the darn glass down and give yourself this thought: I know I do not want to hold out that glass of water. I know what is right. I will never worry about changing my mind.

In November I can pick up the glass, certain I will be able to do something real, not emotional, to deal with the angst. I will vote. Until then there is nothing I can really do — everything others want me to do — to carry their glass, carry it ‘til my arm aches. No thanks. I’m putting it down, content in the knowledge that come November, I will sweep every one of the anti-democracy candidates’ glasses of water away with my vote. My vote is their censure, their destruction.

If everyone can just learn this stress lesson, the November decision will be a forgone victory for what is right. Think about it: Will anything you hear between now and then make you throw out American democracy? If you are sure of that, put the stressful glass down, enjoy your life and know, absolutely, that when you pick up the glass in November — and you know you must — you know perfectly well who to throw the contents at.

Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now lives in New Mexico.

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