This week, I was brought up short by a quote from a book by Malcolm Muggeridge entitled Something Beautiful for God. Muggeridge is writing about Mother Teresa and the religious congregation she founded, the Missionaries of Charity. According to Wikipedia, the Missionaries of Charity ”run hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s and family counselling programmes; orphanages; and schools.”
“Their life is tough and austere by worldly standards, certainly; yet I never met such delightful, happy women, or such an atmosphere of joy as they create. Mother Teresa, as she is fond of explaining, attaches the utmost importance to this joyousness. The poor, she says, deserve not just service and dedication, but also the joy that belongs to human love. This is what the Sisters give them abundantly.”
I could write a lot, but I don’t want to detract from Muggeridge’s words with too many of my own. Yet what if … what would health care look like if, amidst the bureaucratization and computerization and standardization and business-ification of providing medical care, whether to the underserved or the adequately-served, we attached the utmost importance to … Joyousness?