There is nothing commoner than worry. Everybody seems to worry. Men worry. Women worry. It is commonly supposed that women worry more than men. I doubt it. After watching both pretty closely under all sorts of circumstances I doubt it. Yet if it be true that woman does worry the more, I think it is because, being more sensitively organized, she is more keenly alive to the issues involved and to the responsibilities of life. Poor people worry. Those with enough money to be easy worry. And those with the largest wealth seem to worry too. Busy folks worry. And so do the idle. The cultured and scholarly touch elbows with the ignorant here.
Americans are supposed to be specialists in worrying. The name Americanitis has been given to a certain run-down condition of the nerves. Well, we may possibly have set the pace, and may be making new records. But certainly there are plenty of pushing followers. Our Canadian neighbors seem not to be wholly strangers to worry. Nor our British and Dutch forbears. The European continentals, and those of the East nearer and farther off seem to be good or bad at worrying. It is a characteristic of the race everywhere, the difference being merely in the degree. It seems inbred in man.
There are two |don't-worry| chapters in this old Bible, one in the Old Testament and one in the New. In the Old Testament is the Thirty-seventh Psalm with its oft-repeated |fret not.| The word under that English phrase |fret not| is significant. It is so blunt as to sound almost like a bit of American slang. Literally it means |don't get hot.| The New Testament has the sixth chapter of Matthew with Jesus' own words. One should be careful here to note the better reading of the revision. The old version says |take no thought,| and that has been misunderstood by many who have not thought about its meaning. The newer translations are truer to the meaning on Jesus' lips. Do not take anxious thought, |be not anxious.| But apart from these two chapters there is a phrase running through these pages clear through the whole Book, a phrase shot through, piercing everywhere, even as the glorious sunlight pierces through the thick cloud and fog. I mean the phrase |fear not.| All worry roots down its tenacious tendrils in fear.