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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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When In Doubt...

I suppose if you manage to live long enough, nothing much will surprise you anymore. Or do we just become more resistant to new revelations?

I think in the past four years I've had more surprises than, say, the entire decade before. 

Life is full of little sealed boxes that come to us as pretty packaged gifts. We hastily pull off the ribbons and bows, and open the box. And pow! A big surprise of some variety in a little package. How could something so little cause so much commotion?

Being the introvert (hermit) that I obviously am, I often think if I just don't go out much, don't turn on the evening news, and answer the phone only after seeing who is calling, I can soften surprises I'm not anxious to learn about. 

And then there are the phone calls that never come. I wonder which of the two things is actually worse? Knowing or not knowing?

If only we could see the message written in white letters against the bluest of skies, that would be a "soft" awakening to news you don't want to hear. 

Instead of getting a breathless phone call with: "Oh my God, have you heard the news and are you sitting down?"; whereas you promptly sit down and with trembling hands now clutching the phone, utter..."Um no, I guess not."

You could find out in a more painless way. The puffy clouds way up high would somehow soften the news. 

I hate surprises.

What if? What if? What if?

Merely as an intangible exercise bearing no truth, let's hypothesize a bit.

Would you be surprised if on this day someone comes to your door and suddenly TV cameras flash in your face, all but blinding you, and you learn you have won the sweepstakes you have long ago forgotten you even entered? Massive surprise.

Is it more conceivable that you get a phone call from a radio station with the message that you have won tickets to a concert? Hm.

Would you be more surprised if say, you always thought something would happen that would cause you to worry about your own...but instead you find yourself worrying about their spouse instead?  

Conceivable, but also doubtful. Normally the law of percentages would send the barometer to the other end of the spectrum. Wouldn't you think?

But should that happen, you find yourself in the unenviable position of not knowing quite what to do. What is the etiquette for such things, you wonder? 

So you sit back and do nothing, and stew over it all the while. It is their child, grown or not, I tell myself. Not mine.


I walk outside and look up at the summer sky. It is the light blue that can only be rivaled by bright sunlight fanning out across the ocean. So intense that I shade my eyes. 

But there is no white message there for me. 

So you do what any woman who is almost beyond surprising would probably do. Go inside and eat something chocolate. And try your best to leave well enough alone, and just live your life. 

But that little shadow of doubt lingers in the darkness of your mind. In that shadowy little space where you shove things you can do absolutely nothing about. 

Because you are no longer "in the know." You are no longer privy to the daily minutia of family matters. And perhaps that is for the best. What you don't know can't hurt you, right?

But you damned well know it is not yourself you're stewing about.

I'm still going to go out to stare at the sky just in case a message arrives. Because what if it flashed across the endless span of blue and I wasn't there to receive it? 

Cozy Little House
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  1. Brenda, now you leave us wondering what is stewing in that brain of yours?! That being said, sometimes I think I am addicted to worrying. If not for my own family, for others. Heck, I even worry for Joan River's family now. But recently a man in the local community was killed by a drunk driver while riding his bike. 55 years old and gone in an instant. I knew of his wife, not as a close friend, but someone I would say hello to, knew her when our kids were in school. I worry about that family now, the people left behind. I try to figure out what am I getting out of worrying about that now.. but I can't help it. It's like thinking that somehow by worrying, I'm caring. Like I said, addicted to worrying.

    1. You're showing empathy. And that is a good thing. Just don't let it eat your lunch.

  2. YES, it's totally acceptable to worry about someone your aren't related to by blood. Especially if the person has been with you through hard times you have had, when family wasn't there. I believe "family" is who is close to you, not just people you have a blood line with. Our pets don't have our blood either and I know you worry most about them, like I do mine.

  3. I don't like surprises, they make me anxious. I mean, I like surprises about going on a trip, you know things like that. But I don't deal well with serious surprises. I remember the day I was told I have a tumor on my face, the doctor walked in, now I was at an allergist, waiting to hear if I had sinusitis or not, saids "well, you don't have sinusitis", stop and has a long pause. I said "well what do I have" and she blurts out, "well you have a tumor on inside you right check on your Paratoid gland, and you need surgery to have it removed, and it could be cancerous". Wow, wait a minute, what did you say?

    Honesty I like not knowing about family matters, my family is so drama centered. It so draining and stressful, but then it is hard the "not knowing". When I hear from them I know it's a serious matter and I'll feel quilty and a whole flood of emotions takes over!

    There was no compassion in her voice, and she got up like to leave, and I said WAIT, what? She was done, she had done her "doctorly" duty. I on the other hand went into complete shock. Wow, what a great doctor! I dont' know how I made it home that long drive from downtown.

    So I watch the news and watch and look constantly so I am not surprised. Now a sudden sound will send a wave through me of fear. Don't' think I 'll ever be the same. I think not knowing is better, but I guess sooner or later we would have to know, wouldn't we?

    1. I don't know how but when I posted my comment the "paragraphs" printer out of order? the 3 paragraph was the second, the the second was the third? That was weird? This is not how I typed it?

  4. I worry about you, Judy, John, and I've never even met you...

  5. okay....what's going on and did you eat the chocolate?? take care.

    1. Oh yeah. I did eat the chocolate. This was one of those "message in a bottle" kind of things.

  6. Brenda , we are not suppose to worry. We are to look at the day, and ask God to take over....but I find that we women have an extra worry gene and we just can't help ourselves at times. Worry,worry, worry....that's all we seem to do. Some times it's best to face it head on and be done with it. Blessings for a great weekend . xoxo,Susie

    1. I think you're probably right, Susie. Face it head on.

  7. i've been reading Joyce Carol Oates memoir regarding her widowhood/loss of her partner of 46 years ... she spoke in a chapter about how bad news ... your words resonated with me today, as do hers: "... i take no pleasure in seeing another person pained, or distressed--especially not anyone for whom i feel affection. nor do i like being told upsetting news--unless there is a good reason. i can't help but feel that there is an element of cruelty, if not sadism, in friends telling one another upsetting things for no reason except to observe reactions ..." ... keep your eyes on the sky, kiddo ... the very lot of us (hermits, i suppose) struggle with what's coming behind the ringing of that phone, what's going to be revealed in a text or email, who might be at the door, what might flash across the news, and what next shoe is likely to drop ...inasmuch as we hate those feelings, we also hate the "not knowing," the deliberately kept from us things, the ultimately (and maybe not pleasantly) surprising things ... xxo ... love having you in my blog roll

  8. I am reading this and wondering is this a start of a novel. I don't think so, I worry a great deal no wonder I only get 5 hours of sleep a night lately. My life of late has been a barrel of nerves and realistically it will be that way for awhile.

    1. I got this essential oil diffuser. It's kept in my bedroom. I put water and lavender essential oil in it at night. And set the timer. Lavender is a wonderful way to relax and sedate.

  9. Brenda, if one of your grandchildren is ill or something else bad has happened to her and the parents have messaged you about it, call them and find out how serious it is and THEN decide to do nothing or go and lend a hand or a shoulder to cry on. That is what makes us humans beings....empathy. Hope it isn't too serious.....

    1. More stream of consciousness. Doesn't always make sense I suppose.

  10. I have a feeling that you've been in the brownies again, Brenda.

    I totally understand about the "what ifs". I have some idea what they are about.. I feel, in your case, what you can do nothing about, just do nothing.. It doesn't make the "what ifs" any easier to push out of our minds. It doesn't stop the worrying either.. I do feel for you
    You know what you've been through and that you've made it this far.. I guess that both you and I need to just watch the clouds or the clear blue sky and feel blessed for what we have and for our half way good health.

    I sure do wish that man with the Million dollar check would come to my door, the check be real and he'd take me to the bank to deposit it.

    We have to have a LOT of good, old, unadulterated, FAITH that everything will be okay.. That's my opinion, anyway.

    Take care and enjoy the brownies.. Thinking about you !
    Hugs, Charlotte

    1. Those decadent brownies sure are good for whatever ails you!

  11. Worry causes wrinkles!! I try NOT to worry but of course I still do...I believe all of us women just comes natural like really never got me anywhere except in the dehydrated stomach hurt constantly and i could not eat anything...all from worrying...not no more...if Icannot fix it I give it to God and he always does...its amazing how much better I feel now...Carol

    1. I believe you're right. I think women just naturally worry more than men. Maybe because we can give birth.

  12. What is really up? Come on Brenda. Otherwise, we readers worry about you.

    1. Don't worry. Just sending a message in my own oblique way.

  13. Yesterday one of those packages arrived in the form of the bank statement for our credit union. It seems that someone had transferred $88,000 from our home equity line of credit to our savings account and then wired that money back east. We were at the credit union before it opened this morning, after a sleepless night to find that the FBI has been called in. The best news is that we are not liable for any of the money, but the fear is who was the person who was able to do this using all the correct information and passwords.

    1. We had it happen some few years back, found out when we got a letter in the mail that our "daughter, Antoinette" had charged $15k on our credit card. Much later learned it was an inside job at the bank headquarters.

    2. It is a scary time we live in. Where people can take our money without ever having to do anything but click keys on a computer somewhere.


  14. worry is a natural condition sorta like breathing::) take whatever steps you can to ease your mind and if talking it out will help- you know the number. I'm here for ya.. I cant fix whatever it is that has you vexed but you wont have to be alone with it.....

    1. Vexation is not always such a bad thing. Makes us think.

  15. I don't know what it going on with YOU but I have just come up with a lot of revelations that I was clearly behind on by a decade or so, and am sorting / sifting through them and what you don't know CAN hurt you :(

    1. Yes it can. That was a phrase someone thought up at some point. Didn't hold a lot of wisdom.

  16. No news...good. I don't want to know the bad. It's bad enough seeing things on Pinterest. My new source of news. Ugh. I hear and understand your post. Please keep watching the sky. Your message will come. Another blowout over here next door to you. I give up Brenda. People need to let me be so I can live in peace alone. I bother no one and still get yelled out for living..I guess. Keep watching the sky!

  17. I must be a strange, strange woman. I don't worry. If I am not the source to fix the problem, issue, or whatever why worry about it? I have been accused of living with my head in the sand and of wearing rose colored glasses. I don't care. Life is easier this way.
    I used to worry. Too much. And then I decided to hell with it. My life, my way. I gave it up. I guess maybe I just don't care.
    I suppose I worry some about my son. But even at 30 he calls to just chat or to ask advice. Maybe I worry about my husband and his health issues. Or my aging aunt. But, I don't think of those things as worry so much as concern.
    No I don't like surprises of any kind either. They are usually stress filled moments.
    I love to look at the sky, the clear blue cloudless sky. The other day I was sitting outside with my camera. I happened to look up at the sky and the trees. The leaves at the top of two trees had formed a perfect heart shape with the blue sky shining through. I was so glad to have my camera to shoot a picture of it. I am thinking of having it framed.
    I guess what I am saying Brenda is this....if you can't fix what is wrong let it go, if you can't change what is wrong let it go. Worrying will not benefit anyone, and especially not you. There are some things that not even chocolate can fix.

  18. You write about the things that we think about alone in the dark. I like you a lot. You're my kind of gal. Keep make us all think. You're just the one with the guts to open up enough to share the dark scary stuff we all hide from.

  19. Many years ago, I was working the 7-3 shift as a RN at a children's psych hospital when I got a call from my husband telling me that my daughter had been in a wreck. "But she's OKAY, right?!" I quickly said. His words came back softly and in slow motion, "well, not really...". About that time, I'm told I turned totally white and someone sat me down in a chair. THEN he said she's okay but she's hurt her arm. I think I yelled in the middle of the hospital saying something like "don't you EVER do that to me again! Start the conversation with "everything's okay BUT". I still remember that news to this day.

    I may not comment that much but you are on my daily read list, Brenda, and I always enjoy your posts!


  20. I think sometime you can just sense when something is wrong with people you are connected to. In that case I always have to find out. At least then you will know if you need to worry. Just to ease your mind a call may help. Who knows ,maybe it will be received better than you think.
    Good luck. I hope you can erase that worry.


I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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