In the story a farmer and his wife have a daughter who went down in the basement and saw an ax and sat down to cry when she saw what could happen. Soon her mother and father came down and when they heard why she was crying, they each sat down and cried as well. Finally the boyfriend went down and he asked, “Why are you crying?”
“Because,” his girlfriend said, “What if you and I got married and we had a son. What if he came down in the basement and that ax fell down and killed him? That would be so sad!”
You may have heard the story, it’s a little obscure. The only reason I know it was because of a little book we had when we were kids called, “My Tall Book of Nursery Tales” Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky
I think there are a couple of the reasons this book of nursery tales sticks in my mind so much and this story in particular. One is that the illustrations in this book are simply beautiful. Feodor Rojankovsky brought Russia to us without us realizing it.
And this story, The Three Sillies stuck in my mind most because it so wonderfully illustrates when the “What If?” goes terribly wrong.
As a writer I love the question “What If?” It’s what I use when I’m thinking of a new story. For instance:
What if I found a dead body in the house I check on every day? How would it get there? What would happen next?
Most of the time “what if?” is a friend, but sometimes it can turn against me, too. A “what if” question hit me this morning, and when I realized what I was doing, I was as silly as the farmer and his wife.
And that’s the way it is. It creeps up on me.
“What if no one likes what I wrote?”
“What if they laugh?”
“What if they don’t like me?”
“What if I make them mad?”
It’s really just worry; isn’t it? Worry is a lack of trust in God and often when we stop worrying long enough, we see that worry is silly. There’s no point in it and very often that which we worry about never happens anyway.
Worry is something I struggle with all the time. Fortunately Jesus has something to say about worry. Matthew 6:25-34
tells us our Father knows we have these needs. He’ll take care of us. Then, the author of Hebrews tells us in 13:5-6 not to love Money, but to remember that God says that he’ll never abandon or forsake us. What is money anyway? It’s a pile of paper and cheap metal.
So, the next time you’re tempted to worry, remember the story of The Three Sillies and trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding, just as Proverbs 3:5-6 says.