"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Monday, August 11, 2014

Grandma's Strategy for Happiness

      When I was in college, my grandma Melton would sometimes send me cards in the mail, cards with good thoughts, happy thoughts.  One of them said, "If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come."  I don't know if she thought I was sad or if I tended toward complaint, or what the reason was for these cheery little notes, but I liked and remembered them. 
      I remember  her, my grandma Melton, as someone who walked with joy and contentment. Her life held  much loss and sorrow (as most lives do) and yet she always had a smile or a little song going.  She spent much time in the garden and with living, growing things, or watching the birds out her window.  Looking for happy thoughts, always. 
       One time she sent me this poem she had clipped out of a magazine.  At the time I thought it was simple but now, after living more of life in the forty years since then, I see that it is good advice and probably spoke to how she dealt with her own worries and cares. 

"Build for yourself a strong box,
Fashion each part with care
When it's strong as your hand can make it,
Put all your troubles there;
Hide there all thought of your failures,
And each bitter cup that you quaff;
Lock all your heartaches within it,
Then sit on the lid and laugh.

"Tell no one else of its contents,
Never its secrets share;
When you've dropped in your care and worry
Keep them forever there;
Hide them from sight so completely
That the world will never dream half;
Fasten the strong box securely
Then sit on the lid and laugh."

                      ~~Bertha Adams Backus


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