I always joke how ulcers have a long and noble precedent in my family. We are a nervous people, constantly assuming the worst of that which is in our control. When they used to go to the mountains for the summer, Ma said that she followed Luke around (when he was three) because she couldn't handle the heart-stopping feeling when a child is misplaced for a few minutes.
But when it comes to cosmic matters I am sweat-free. I don't concern myself with the ice caps melting, a resurrected Nazi party, or nuclear Iran. That is, most assuredly, out of my hands.
Daniel Smith wrote an article regarding his chronic anxiety. While I am thankfully not remotely as bad off as him, I can understand his problems with a communal college bathroom. But this thought was worth sharing:
My brother and I grew up in a Jewish but largely secular home. Each of us had a bar mitzvah, but we managed to emerge from childhood with little understanding of, and littler faith in, religious texts. Scott is convinced that our lack of religion has handicapped us psychologically. “It’s not really fair, when you think about it,” he told me when he began the project. “We’re surrounded by people who came into this world with these portable little bundles of certainty, these neat foundational texts. They don’t have to go rooting around for comforting words. What do we have? What did we get? Nothing. A handful of movies and a few of Dad’s jokes. We’re at sea. We’ve always been at sea.”
He has got a point there. We always have a passage to fall back on, some biblical metaphor, a psalm to identify with.
What I find funny is how so many find "portable little bundles of certainty, these neat foundational texts" to be slaveholders of the modern mind. Whether it be atheists or agnostics or those who see their Jewish background as something intellectual, not practical, observant Judaism has certainly never been heralded as an anxiety-soother.
So I can only suppose that if I was raised without faith (chas v'shalom) I would be on meds right now.