You've got a lot to worry about.
Take terrorism. Hints of possible attacks and suicide bombings in the Middle East heighten alert levels.
Bioterrorism drills in Seattle and Chicago tested government readiness for nuclear and biological warfare. Drills at Miami's Pro Player stadium simulated an attack during a hypothetical professional baseball game.
These drills remind me of signs I saw in South Africa, a nation not unfamiliar with terror. Hotel room signs direct guest procedures for both fire scares ("sound the alarm, close all windows and doors, gather at the meeting point") and bomb scares ("sound the alarm, open all windows and doors, gather at the meeting point"). Might similar signs appear here?
SARS has curtailed travel, sprouted acres of surgical masks, and strained healthcare systems. Seattle public health director Dr. Alonzo Pugh says that SARS, smallpox vaccination, West Nile virus preparation, and tuberculosis have put him nearly $2 million over budget. He likens the problem to an understaffed fire department having to choose among several burning buildings. Which do you save?
The SARS scare spawned a host of bogus prevention and treatment methods. Federal authorities ordered 48 websites to cease promoting them. Scam artists tap human fears.
Also in the whom-can-you-trust-these-days department, a Microsoft UK division announced the development of a portable toilet complete with Internet access. To be unveiled at summer music festivals in Britain, the "iLoo" would have a wireless keyboard and monitor inside the portable lavatory (which the Brits call a "loo"). Developers said they hoped to provide special toilet paper imprinted with web addresses for users to try.
Turns out the announcement was a hoax, perpetrated by the Microsoft British office. Microsoft headquarters apologized, dashing hopes of efficiency experts everywhere. If you can't trust Bill Gates. . . .
Terror, disease, corruption, hoaxes, an uncertain economy, job insecurity, family conflicts. Life has many challenges that we cannot completely control. How does one find peace of mind amidst so many causes for worry?
The lyrics of an ancient Jewish song remind people to look up: "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea." "Be still (let go, relax), and know that I am God," the song quotes as divine advice.
Faith may not provide clear-cut solutions to every dilemma. But it does offer an anchor that millions have found reliable.
Then there are some rather creative ways of confronting world worries. Consider a bipartisan U.S. congressional bill introduced to help bring democracy to Cuba. Some lawmakers want to lift the U.S. travel ban to Cuba, feeling that flooding the island nation with Americans and their ideals would help loosen Castro's grip.
Said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., "We believe that if you want to drive the Cuban government crazy, you should let them deal with spring break."
Rusty Wright is an author and university lecturer with Probe.org who has spoken on six continents. "Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;