Today, I put Equal in my coffee. As I usually do.
I know: Equal consists of aspartame, among other things. And aspartame, if some of my friends’ favorite websites are to believed, will give me cancer. Or, contrary to popular expectation, cause obesity. Or shut down my liver or kidneys. Or monkey with my metabolism in some way.
As will everything else I eat. The meat and dairy products are filled with hormones, which are killing me. The vegetables and grains consist of genetically modified organisms, which are killing me. The fat and sugars are killing me; if I try to substitute them with artificial fats and sugars, that will kill me. The coffee I drink so much of is, despite how much decaf I drink, killing me. Tap water is full of poisons, which are killing me; bottled water is full of poisons, which are killing me. The only alternative is to eat stuff grown in my own victory garden and drink rainwater… except the pollutants in the rainwater are gonna kill me too, so I’d better distill it first.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been eating this stuff for years. As have most people I know. They haven’t been dying, or coming down with debilitating illnesses, any more than usual. If there was suddenly a plague of people dying in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, I might be inclined to pay attention. But as things are, the average person isn’t even dying in their 70s and 80s; they’re dying in their 90s and 100s. And they eat way worse crap than I do, in way bigger portions.
I could worry myself sick (and since stress causes cancer, this isn’t just a turn of phrase) over what I eat or drink, or I can just ignore all the paranoia and live my life. I like the second option.
Food isn’t the only thing my friends worry about. They also worry about the government. They worry about their freedom to worship—as if anyone in this country has recently tried to stop them from going to church. They worry about their right to bear arms—as if anyone in this country has tried to ban private ownership of handguns and hunting rifles; you know, normal guns. They worry that the IRS is gonna go after people with their politics. They worry, they worry, they worry.
I’m not saying “Don’t worry; be happy.” There are plenty of real things to worry about. These aren’t them.
Worry is the opposite of peace. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. The more you worry, the more you demonstrate you don’t follow the Spirit. And the less I should pay attention to you. So I don’t.