“Don’t be such a crab !” These were the words from my mother to any of the kids that were “acting up” or “being a pill”, or “acting like a crab”. In truth, who likes to be around a “crab”… they make themselves and everyone around them miserable. Crabbiness is also contagious…a bit like the hated coronavirus. As Benjamin Franklin said, “one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel. “ Hmmmm, it seems like ole Ben had a lot to say about everything.
St. John Bosco was attuned to this issue. I just read that “at the age of 15 he convinced the other boys there to join a “cheerfulness club”…. sadness would get you kicked out, as would bad behavior.” (Magnificat, 10-26-21) I also read that he never had to punish a boy…his preventative system was based on reason, religion, and loving kindness. He must have been quite a holy man.
Why do people act crabby and not cheerfully? I think there are many possible reasons, but I think “disappointment” is often a reason. My expectations are not being met… I thought I would get that promotion or that recognition…I thought my kids would be more helpful or obedient or successful. I thought the country would be doing better and that righteous men and women would rise to positions of authority. I thought the church would include more saintly people at all levels. I thought the Giants would be better this year? The list goes on and on.
Psalm 73 gives another look at this whole problem of disappointment. “ I was filled with envy of the proud when I saw how the wicked prosper… for them there are no pains, their bodies are sound and sleek, they wear their pride like a necklace, they scoff and speak with malice… so the people turn to follow them and drink in all their words…. does the Most High take any notice…look at them, such are the wicked but untroubled, they grow in wealth.”
But just as everyone’s ready to jump off a cliff, the psalmist gives the solution, “to be near God is my happiness. I have made the Lord God my refuge. I will tell of all your works at the gates of the city of Zion”. (Ps. 73:1-15,28)
So, let’s focus on the fact that God will always have the last word, not the proud and the arrogant. Let’s remember that as we stay close to the Lord and receive his mercy and guidance and kindness, “all will be well with my soul”…. and I don’t have to be a crab….. I can be cheerful. And that is very good news.