I guess most of us have heard the strange and unfortunate story of Howard Hughes. Mr. Hughes was a big-time businessman who dabbled in the oil business, entertainment as well as the aviation industry. He was an astute businessman and it wasn’t long before he became a billionaire. You would think that anyone with that much money would be sitting by a pool or lounging on the beach enjoying the fruits of his labor. But Howard Hughes was not like most people.
You see, for the last 25 years of his life, Howard Hughes was the poster child for worry and anxiety. He lived in constant fear that there were people out to get him so he spent his last decades renting out entire floors of various hotels. His closest friends (which were few) say
he was so overwhelmed by worry and fear that he sat in a pitch-black room in for long stretches of time, and would not allow anyone to come in to see him. If you had to communicate with Mr. Hughes, specific instructions were provided. You had to take several tissues, cover the door knob with them, knock, and open the door ever-so-slightly. Hughes required this process because he was exceptionally fearful of germs.
All his worry led to severe stomach problems, causing him to sit in the bathroom for hours at a time. In fact, one aide noted that Hughes once sat in the bathroom for 27 straight hours. On the rare occasion that Hughes would venture out of the hotel (or bathroom), he gave specific instructions to his driver: only smooth roads were to be taken, and the driver was never to exceed 35 miles per hour. On the chance that they had to cross railroad tracks or some uneven part of the road, the driver was to slow down to 2 miles per hour. Howard was that nervous about being in an accident!
For a man who seemingly had it all, worry and anxiety dominated his life! The overwhelming paradox of Hughes was that the more successful he got, the more money he accrued, the more worry and anxiety festered in his soul.
Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34, excerpts)