A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. Proverbs 15:13 The Message
The good and bad news about cheerful and sad hearts is they’re infectious. Sometimes we catch our happiness or sadness from what’s going on around us. Sometimes from people we hang out with. Sometimes we recycle our own joy or grief by talking about it again and again and again.
If we’re purposeful about what we catch, it’ll most likely be good because that’s what most of us want – daily goodness.
Goodness happens when we’re intentional about what we watch and read on television, in books, and on social media; what we think about and say; and who we hang out with.
Goodness happens when we learn to laugh at ourselves, laugh with others, and laugh about what’s going on around us. People and circumstances can be a bit much to handle without laughter – too intense, too dark, too ridiculous. Not everything’s funny, but there’s typically some humor in every situation.
Goodness happens when we stop trying so hard and, like I mentioned before, wear Life like a loose garment. We all have a story that either buries us alive or helps us help others. The harder things become, the more practice we get at relying on God’s goodness and our humor to get us through.
It took me by surprise the day my friend Betty laughed when I told her about the death of a young friend. She didn’t laugh anxiously like I did when my high school friend died, but joyously. She pointed out that moving onto heaven spared him from troubles like difficult relationships, piled up bills, and unpleasant jobs.
“Think about all he won’t have to deal with. He’s better off with Jesus,” she said.
Hers was a different and comforting perspective because she truly believed in happy endings – not the kind when we meet Prince Charming, but the kind when we meet Jesus. She wasn’t flippant about grief, but firm that it went hand-in-hand with the goodness of God.
I wondered if she believed what she said until I watched closely as she dealt with her husband’s illness and death. She laughed as much as she cried. She found something good in every hard thing that happened. She called me her angel during that season and said I always cheered her up. The truth is, it was the other way around.
“For goodness’ sake,” she said, “We knew none of us were leaving here alive.”
In This Together,
FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because the blog posts will eventually be an entire manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. Each blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is one subheading within the chapter. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and suggestions. I’m over-the-top grateful you’re here.