Sister Alma Rose’s Law
The less you have, the less you have to worry.
(Corollary: The less you have to do, the less you
have to hurry. That’s another story, though, and this
is not its telling.)
Sister Alma Rose’s law is
relevant where there are choice, a
modicum of freedom, and intent. Some are
exempt, the genuinely wretched, when
their little boys are snatched and given
guns to kill the Other Ones; and crack- and
meth-addicted mothers selling
daughters, sex for drugs; and in
the cruelest wars when torture is
diversion, children raped and
mutilated, carved and murdered, and
their mamas and their papas forced to
watch the wicked feast on innocence; and,
too, the refugees, the simply starving.
Pray for them some morning, when
you’re running late, your head aches, and
the stress is taking up the space that
rightfully belongs to gratitude. And pray
for them at night when you elect to
sleep in separate beds because you’ve had a
fight about what someone said to someone
else that afternoon. And don’t forget to
think of them in traffic when you curse the
drivers who are snoozing when the light’s
no longer red.
It could be worse.
What is your sine qua non? What do you have
that, if you didn’t have it, lacking it would
drive you to despair?
The trendy hair, the
pedicure? A newer SUV? The
chichi house that’s twice as
big as what you need? The megasize
TV with satellite?
It’s fine to have it, don’t mistake me, if it
doesn’t make you crazy. I don’t judge the
rich, nor am I poor of my volition, nor will I be
this time next year. Nevertheless, it does
amaze one, what a span of poverty can
do to clear a girl’s perspective.
Our necessities are few, is what I’ve
seen, and most of them are free, and ours by
grace, not striving, running ’round and
’round to stay a step ahead of… what?
Let’s begin again at the
beginning. Start with Life. Just
contemplate the mystery it is to
Be and know you Are. That star up there?
It Is, but doesn’t think or feel or realize or
wonder. So, you say, why Me?
It could so easily be otherwise, this
having consciousness. One person more, one
person less, the earth is full of
persons, yet I Am, because I Was, before
the world began, somehow conceived of as
essential to the universe. And here I
sit, assembling words, delighting in
It could be worse.
Life, as they say, is not
a dress rehearsal.
Yet in our hubris, we claim, “I deserve,” and
never climb the hill in early dawn to watch the brittle
darkness broken, swept away, and by the merest
stroke of baby-rabbit gray that turns to
lavender and then to gold and then to
glory. It’s a pity that we don’t, for if we
did, and noticed that it never fails, this
serial awakening, this triumph of
Creation, this magnificent display, this
ritual of light begetting life and doing it with
infinitely changing beauty to a
chorus of “Ave!”—if we watched the sun
rise every day, then we would surely
say: “I have all I need.”
This is the “I Am” pondered in
humility, in awe that such a thing
Then come the needing and the wanting, which
is as it should be, for, if not, then why
get out of bed? To cease to want is death.
But what we get is not what we
deserve. Oh, yes, we worked for it,
and others work as hard and are as
smart and reap much less. And yet we
dare to speak of “fairness” in our
own behalf when what we have is
plenty and to spare.
If we can laugh, or dance, or
sing, perhaps all three—we have enough.
If we can smile from the heart, and
warm another to the heart’s depth,
we have happiness enough and more. (But some
would scruple to accept a blessedness they
did not earn.)
The nearly dead have life not quite
burned up; they still observe. If you’ve been
dead in spirit, as I have, you learned
one thing as certain: Life is
gift enough, and one cannot
America, pare down your
expectations, or perhaps I
should say, reinvest them where
abundance truly comes from. Stop;
remember whence your life
originates, your loved ones, and your
joy. You are not worthy in proportion
to your inventory or your poverty; for
neither owning goods nor lacking them is
virtuous, but rather purity of heart, and
gratitude, have value in the eye of God.