Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Not In The Mood

I woke up before the alarm went off again this morning, and I hit the mental “Snooze Button” and rolled over for a few minutes until the buzzer awoke me. It never did.

I guess it may have been that second glass of wine before bed, or perhaps my guardian angel felt I needed a little extra rest, but he woke me 45 minutes later, running late, but not too late for morning mass. (I apparently hadn’t set the alarm the night before.) As I drove to the church, the radio station I had on from the previous day began a meditation on some words from St. Thomas More. He spoke of the importance of our actions, of how they witness what we really believe.

How often have I (or you, for that matter) said those words: “I’m not in the mood”? Get your mind out of the gutter, please, because I know the first thing you thought of when you read those words, was a situation in which either you or your spouse may have said them, in bed. Yes, maybe that really was the last time you said those words, but I’d bet it was not the only time. Sometimes you just think those words. And it’s probably more often than your realize.

At home, the children want your attention or help: “I’m sorry, kids, but I’m not in the mood right now.” The dog brings a ball and lays it at your feet: “Not now, Rover.” The spouse wants to talk to you about the kids’ grades, or the family budget: “Could we do this later?” Your parents are ill, or need your help --- even if they don’t ask for it sometimes: “I’d love to drop by this weekend, dad, but I have some things I need to get done for the office; maybe next week.”

At work, the boss wants you to bring in that report that you still have not finished: “Could we schedule that for later this afternoon?” Your secretary forgot to type that letter you needed mailed yesterday: “Oh Lord, not again!” Your direct reports challenge your direction: “You know, I don’t need this bull right now.” Or the guy from the next office races around a corner and bumps into you, spilling the coffee you were holding all over your shirt, and you say --- nothing, but he can read the thoughts all over your face.

These are all interactions with other people in which we are saying to them: “I’m not in the mood.” We’re saying “I’m not in the mood for this,” whatever ‘this’ might be. That’s what we are saying, loud and clear --- but what are they hearing? Oh I’m sure they are hearing your point about ‘this’ thing: you don’t want to do it or you don’t want to deal with it right now. They hear that. But there’s more that gets conveyed.

What are they thinking? What does your family, your co-workers, or even strangers think when you say to them: “I’m not in the mood.”? From your response, they perceive that whatever you are feeling or thinking at that moment is deemed more important than whatever they want. They are thinking that you are being dismissive of their wants or needs. They are thinking that you do not give them respect. And if they hear it often enough, they are thinking that you do not love them.

After I arrived at church this morning, I felt pretty good (must have been the extra sleep), and I began to pray the Office, and I read: Give me the wisdom and love necessary to pray this Office with attention, reverence and devotion. Wisdom and love are “necessary” to pray well, but praying well is also done with attention, reverence, and devotion. We need those same two things, wisdom and love, to act well toward our neighbor also. We need wisdom and love to act towards these others, with attention, reverence, and devotion, the way we should treat all of our neighbors. This is how we really “show” that we love our neighbor.

If all this concerns you even in the slightest, then you have the inklings of love necessary. And I have just given you some wisdom. So let’s try and remember these things the next time we are inclined to be dismissive of our family, friends, or even strangers. Let’s pause before we tell them: “I’m not in the mood.” You know, we can still do things, can still do things with love, even if we are not in the mood, if we will to do so.

St. Thomas spoke of the importance of our actions. They are a witness to what we really believe. Don’t let anyone be confused about what you really believe, especially if you believe that you DO want to keep that commandment, to love your neighbor.


  1. Good post. Challenging too. I need to get to bed right now so tomorrow I am in the mood to love and be attentive to husband and children!

  2. Lady, you have your priorities straight. This blather is of little importance, compared to those blessings you have around you.