Sister Mary Lucy was a Poor Clare nun who suffered greatly. She lost her eyesight and had a degenerative bone disease which caused her spine to crumble.
The doctors could do very little to help her. I used to visit her regularly, but never once heard her complain.
Instead she had a huge radiant smile. I asked her, “Sister, do you ever feel angry at the Lord because you have lost your sight?”
“Oh no!” she’d exclaim, “I’ve seen such wonderful things that I would never have been able to see if I had my sight!”
She was a mystic.
Another time I asked her if she was in pain because of her crumbling spine.
She said, “Constantly!”
“Doesn’t that make you unhappy?”
“No! It makes me happy because it brings me so close to Jesus on the cross!”
I look around me at so many people who are so unhappy over tiny trifles and I remember Sister Mary Lucy and I remember St. Augustine’s famous quote, “Lord make me chaste … but not yet.”
Then I think how many people seem to be saying to God, “Lord, make me happy … but not yet.”
Here we are as Americans — the richest, healthiest, best-educated, most self-reliant and capable human beings who have ever lived — and yet there is so much unhappiness.
I’m not talking about those who have real cause for unhappiness — the poor, the unemployed, the chronically sick, the bereaved, prisoners, those with terminal illness — but I’m talking about the big babies that most of us are.
Why so much unhappiness, griping, grumbling, whinging and whining and bellyaching over so many totally petty and silly things?
I have a theory. I think it’s because we WANT to be unhappy.
I have a saying about some people, “Oh, she’s just so happy being unhappy. I think she’d be unhappy if she were happy.”
We like being unhappy because it makes us feel important. Its a form of self-dramatization. We want some drama in our life so we find something to be unhappy about.
We especially like being unhappy when we can blame another person. It’s my husband’s fault. It’s my wife’s fault. It’s my mother in law. It’s my daughter-in-law. It’s my kids. It’s my parents. It’s my boss. It’s my employees. It’s my pastor. It’s my people. It’s the Republicans. It’s the Democrats. It’s the poor people; they’re lazy. It’s the rich people; they’re greedy. It’s the blacks. It’s the whites. It’s the Muslims. It’s the Christians. It’s the Catholics. It’s the Protestants.
You get my drift.
We actually nurse our unhappiness. It’s like a fat ugly mongrel dog we keep around the house.
We feed it with scraps of negativity, morsels of moroseness, tidbits of gossip and crumbs of grumbles.
Be being unhappy we nurture and nurse our sense of being a victim and by being a victim we allow ourselves to relapse into an immature mentality. We allow ourselves to fall into being spoiled little brats.
We just love being unhappy because we think someone will come and make us happy. We want a Sugar Daddy or a Big Momma to come and make everything alright when what we really need to do is realize that only one person will decide if we are happy or not, and that’s the person who looks at us from the mirror.
God will help us. That’s for sure, but he is not the big Sugar Daddy in the sky who will give us everything we want. He’s not Santa Claus.
God’s will and God’s way is to help us help ourselves.
Do you want to be happy? Do you really? Think of Sister Mary Lucy. She had every reason to be unhappy because she had decided to put her trust in God.
Everything made her happy because her happiness was in God alone.
You will be happy when you decide to be happy just like you will be chaste when you decide to be chaste.
God will help you, but it’s in your hands, and as soon as you decide that is what you are going to do the sooner that help will come to you.