Father Eugene Hemrick

Do you get up on the wrong side of the bed more often than not? If you watch or read the daily news, I can’t blame you.

Iraq is in turmoil. Syria is in shambles. Here at home, we have experienced tornadoes and many couldn’t pull away from Nebraska’s recent double tornadoes, or “twin tornadoes” coverage. And that is to say nothing of raging forest fires and devastating floods.

We ingest a constant diet of bad news daily, and if you’re a loyal watcher or reader, it is bound to sour the best of dispositions.

How, then, can we maintain a healthy disposition? There are certain ways to look at these events.

Sir Charles Oman, a military historian, once said, “The human record is illogical … and history is a series of happenings with no inevitability about it.”


Why is history unpredictable? It is unpredictable because of our human soul. One minute we can be gentle like the biblical Abel and the next we can be murderous like his brother Cain. It is also because Mother Nature one minute can bless us with dazzling beauty and the next minute turn life into hell.

We need to understand that we live in a moment of time in which getting up on the right or wrong side of the bed depends on variables that often defy control. One thing that we can get better at is controlling our disposition even when such things affect us. How does that work?

St. John XXIII gives us one answer. After a hard day’s work, he would turn to God and would tell God that he did the best he could do for that day and then turned everything over to God and then went to sleep. He practiced the saintly art of letting go.

The Italians have the proverb “la provvidenza di Dio non manca mai,” or the providence of God never fails us. In other words, to be under control is to let God do the controlling.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the Russian writer, gives us another answer along the same lines. In his book, “The Brothers Karamazov,” the wise priest, Father Zossima, says one of the best ways to keep one’s disposition healthy is to embrace the world in “humble love.”

When we become ill-disposed toward others, be it the world or God, it is because we feel that we deserve more than we are receiving. Humility reminds us that we don’t deserve anything and are here by the grace of God. Love reminds us to count our blessings. The most wonderful happening in our life is being created by God.

If we take all of this into account, it should make for waking up on the right side of the bed easier.