Just a spoonful of sugar…making the humdrum enjoyable


By Sr. Christina M. Neumann

Last week,  I made a couple of rhubarb coffee cakes for people to enjoy after Sunday Mass.  I’ve also made a couple of batches of rhubarb sauce recently for our residents to enjoy.  One thing I’ve learned about rhubarb is that it needs sugar.  In fact, I wished I had pre-soaked the rhubarb in sugar before I made the cakes last Monday morning at 2 a.m. (I was working the night shift.)  This lesson about a little sugar making the whole batch better is a good analogy for life as well.

Yesterday, we were cutting up yet another batch of donated rhubarb (two big bags this time).  Doing this isn’t the most exciting activity.  However, during our “rhubarb parties” at St. Anne’s, we’ve learned to “sugar-coat” what could otherwise be a little bit of a sour job; we end up joking and even sometimes singing while we work.  Yesterday, we sang “I’ve been working on the rhubarb All the live-long day.”

Another way that humor (unintentionally) helped “the medicine go down” yesterday came about when one of our ladies kept trying to throw her pieces of rhubarb into the bowl.  It was kind of far away, and she didn’t make it into her target.  I kept telling her to stop throwing it, and that I would take the pieces for her.  However, she would not stop throwing them.  In frustrated fun, I took a big piece of rhubarb (resembling a plank or a bat) and swung it a little, telling her to knock it off or face the consequences (jokingly, of course).

If we didn’t have a little humor in life, things would certainly be boring.  Our slogan, “It’s great to be alive at St. Anne’s” is true, in part, because of the fact that we are not afraid to incorporate humor into the humdrum things of life.  Just as “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” (or the rhubarb taste better), so a little bit of good-natured humor and positive attitude sweetens all of life for us.

Today, let’s give thanks for the gift of humor and use it wisely!