A 92-year old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably coifed, and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
“I love it,” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged…it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice – I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away just for this time in my life.”
At the end, my realtor wrote (or borrowed from someone else):
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
- Free your heart from hatred
- Free your mind from worries
- Live simple
- Give more
- Expect less
We have a great example of choosing happiness in Paul . Reading his accounts of where he finds joy, in the worst of circumstances (i.e., Acts 16:25), is simply inspiring.
I have found myself lamenting a number of situations in my life over the past month. God is so gracious...sending me pockets of joy even though I am not obedient in seeking them. Visiting a Christian friend in KC that I hadn't seen in months brought joy as we talked, prayed, and fellowshipped together. Receiving an email from a Christian co-worker (in a secular business) that said, "Remember, God is in control"...which was sent not knowing what I was facing and how much I needed to hear that. My 17-year-old son sending me a text message right after I landed at the airport after a business trip, asking "Are you in town yet?" and when I answered "Just landed," he responded with "Coolio!" He then hugged me when I got home, in front of a guy friend...and if you know his story (and the reason I started this blog to begin with), you know how amazing this is, and just how far we've come.
So, today I praise God. I sing to Him. I worship Him. I thank Him. In the midst of enormous financial trials. In spite of a marriage that seems to be fading. In spite of job that is overwhelming. He is merciful. He is awesome. He loves me. He comforts me. He suffered and paid the ultimate price for me. I choose to praise Him in all circumstances
"The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!"
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan..." (Psalm 42:5-6)
"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4)
I choose Love. I choose Life. I choose HIM!
Blessings, dear readers friends.