Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

‘Why is there always a mosquito at the picnic?”

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published June 10, 2016

Beware of the trap called the “one more thing” syndrome, which is also known as the “All I need to be happy” mantra—and it goes like this:

All I need for happiness is a big, new house with all the trimmings.

Then when we get that house, we start noticing some of the neighbors have brick patios, so we decide we need “one more thing.”

Once the patio is in place, everything seems sweet for a while until someone mentions they are having an outside fire pit installed, and pretty soon that becomes the next thing we need for happiness.

I can attest to this syndrome in my own life, although it doesn’t concern patios and firepits, but accessories. I will spot a purse in the store that seems to be crying out, “Buy me!”

Then I’ll tell myself I really don’t need another handbag—in fact, I have more than enough.

So I walk away feeling that I have overcome this temptation, until later in the day when an image dances in my consciousness—and, yes, it is the purse.

Maybe I can find it online, I muse, so the hunt begins.

When I discover the item online, the price is still rather high, so I go through the whole mental struggle again. But then I notice a sale, and oh what happiness as I triumphantly click the “purchase” button.

The sacred object soon arrives in the mail, and for a few days, the new accessory is exactly what was missing from my life.

How did I ever get through the day without it? Why, even the lining is awesome!

About a month later, the purse is just another item in my closet, and the thrill has worn off. Before long, something else edges into my consciousness, calling out, “Buy me! I will make you happy!”

Many of us yearn for the absolutely perfect place to live. We see magazine covers broadcasting the virtues of various cities touted as the gold standard for raising children or retiring.

We seek vacation spots that are undiscovered, quiet and far from the craziness of cities. We’re convinced that’s all we need for utter happiness.

Still, once we get there, we often meet others who have also found this supposedly pristine locale, and before long, it becomes another crowded tourist attraction.

Why is there always a fly in the ointment? A thorn in our sides? A mosquito at the picnic?

There once was a lovely place to live, and it was Eden, and our first parents could have anything they wanted there—except one thing. The devil’s tempting lies would have completely fizzled out if Adam and Eve had not yearned for more than they had.

They longed for the one thing forbidden to them, the single item out of reach—and why? Because they believed it would make life even better.

We inherited that fallen nature from our first parents, which means we too yearn for more, even when we have so much. We are always seeking the next comfort, the next luxury, the next thrill, the next novelty.

It’s on ongoing struggle for me. But I pray to fully realize that only one thing never disappoints. It is faith. Only one place is truly perfect—and it is heaven.

And only one person can sate our hunger and quench our thirst. The one who promised, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Artwork (“Grail,” oil painting) by Jef Murray. Lorraine’s email address is