Not Moping Around

A number of years ago, the Guinness Book of Records team located and interviewed the oldest person in the world, a woman living in Tokyo, Japan This Japanese woman had just turned 116 years old! When asked the secret to her long life, she replied, without flinching, “Not moping around.” This seems to be the common response of many men and women who break the “100 barrier.” They say keeping active and engaged in the world (i.e., engaged with other people) is the secret not only for their longevity but their happiness too.

“Not moping around.” What a funny and revealing comment! Most of us are too busy to literally mope around the house each day. We have tons of things to get done and “moping around” is hardly an option. Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t mope. We just take it to a deeper level, to the level of our spirit. We can “mope” about all sorts of things and never realize that’s what we’re doing. It might be an uncharitable comment or slight we received five years ago that we’re still nursing or a problem at work that just won’t go away, or a defect in our character we can’t seem to overcome or get a handle on.

The problem with "moping around" in mind and spirit is that we let golden opportunities pass by. We remove ourselves from the stream of providence. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes 11:4, “if you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” The antidote to moping around is to make ourselves “alert” and “awake” to the opportunities the Lord hands us every day. The Lord says, "Arise, shine for your light has come" (Isaiah 60:1) and "Stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come" (Matthew 24:42). We'll never know what we're missing unless we take advantage of the seemingly insignificant, ordinary, opportunities that present themselves to us each day. Mark Twain put it this way: “I knew a man who grabbed a cat by the tail and learned 40% more about cats than the man who didn’t.”

Don't wait for “perfect conditions” before taking action. Shake yourself "awake" and "rise up." Moping around is a tool of the hells. Our body and mind have been created to be active and engaged in society (i.e., connected to people). Being physically and mentally alert (in motion) is the key not only to one’s longevity; it's the key to true, lasting happiness. Heaven’s happiness “is the pleasure of doing something that is of use to one’s self and others. The pleasure in being useful... is the life and soul of all heavenly joys.” (CL 5)