Misery Dinner

Leo Buscaglia, the noted lecturer from the University of Southern California, once told a story about his mother that I particularly enjoyed. It concerned what he called the family “misery dinner” – a dinner arranged by his mother after the family had received some especially bad news “Papa came home one evening, gathered us together and said that his partner had absconded with everything and that he was going to have to go into bankruptcy,”  Buscaglia said. The next day, Buscaglia related, “My mother went out and sold some jewelry and when my dad came home, again despondent, and all of us came home really wondering if we’d eat, we had the most incredible dinner. It was like a Christmas dinner.” The senior Buscaglia thought his wife was insane and sharply demanded, “what’s the matter? You go crazy?” Mrs Buscaglia’s rejoinder was, “The time for joy is now, when we need it, not next week.” With that, the family began to pull together. A daughter said she would work overtime. Buscaglia himself, still a youngster, offered to sell magazines. Instead of despondency, the mood became one of, “We’ll make it.” All because of the wisdom of a loving mother.

– James Keller

When things go bad, as they sometimes do, people become depressed, and in that mood they tend to do things that lead them deeper and deeper down. That is the time when, in stead, we need all sorts of boosters for our mood, as Mrs. Buscaglia so well understood.

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