Happiness and health

As life speeds by me in my geriatric slow lane,  I am grateful to have old and trusted companions to come along with me.  I’m still walking most days.  I still do my own light housework.  I still sew and hand quilt, though some blocks’ corners don’t quite jibe as well as they once did. I still do my own cooking, though what I fix for myself tends to be pretty simple.  When company comes, I can still put out a spread, however.   All of my life, I’ve adhered to the old adage, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”  Consequently, I try to stay as active as possible. 

We tend to think we need this or that to be happy, but that’s an illusion.  All we really need are the basics: food, water, clothing, shelter, human and spiritual relationships.  The rest is gravy.   Most of us can be just as happy as we make up our minds to be. There are exceptions, of course.  All kinds of things can happen to change the trajectory of our lives.  We may suffer from chronic depression or major illnesses.  Loved ones die.  Yet even then,  making the decision to be positive and grateful can make a big difference in how we experience life and respond to our specific challenges. 

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If we are among the more fortunate with good health insurance, most illnesses can be treated or at least made more liveable.  Yet we still have to assume responsibility for doing as much as we can to take care of ourselves and look for the positives in life because they are always there.  I often think of Porgy in the folk opera, singing, “I’ve got plenty of nothing, and nothing is plenty for me…”   I never want to experience the poverty he dealt with, but most of us have so much more than we really need.  Every time I thank God for all the blessings I’ve enjoyed over the years, I find myself thinking of those less fortunate who don’t have the resources I have and struggle to make ends meet.  But it’s not enough to thank God, is it?  When we become aware, we also need to do something to help others.  Perform a random act of kindness.  Pay it forward at the grocery store.  Tip generously when eating out.  Send a struggling friend a check.

Among the things I tend to take for granted are my houseplants.  They fill the window spaces and corners of my downstairs rooms, detoxifying the air, and bringing brightness and color to the decor.   Since my husband died, I’ve moved several houseplants into the bedroom where they greet me in the morning,  tuck me in at night, breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen..  I can’t imagine life without my plants. They bring me so much joy.  

While I can’t garden as I did on the farm, I still putter around outside during the growing season, sticking a few vegetables in amongst the flowers and shrubs. I am so grateful that I live in a relatively rural area where I am only steps away from wide open spaces, nearby hills and forests.  I get to watch corn fields go from tiny green sprouts pushing through the ground to towering stalks, heavy with maturing ears.  God created us to live in harmony with the great outdoors, to be in tune with this amazing planet.  Nature has this way of stifling the gremlins that live inside our heads and reducing the many stresses related to our fast-paced lives.  Mother Nature reminds us that there is a vast difference between our needs and our wants and that we actually need to take some time each day to detach from our electronic gizmos if we are to be healthy and happy. We actually need to become more in tune with the Great Outdoors.  The more we can appreciate this precious planet that nurtures us the less stressed we will be.  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, remembering to be grateful in everything we do.  Amen    

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Marietta Witt
Marietta Witt
3 months ago

I have a lot to do this morning so when I saw there was a new piece by Joyce Shutt I was tempted to say, “Well, I’ll read that later. But I might forget, so I’d better read it now.” Of course, I’m so glad I did. Her uplifting writing is always a joy. I think I’ll start a Joyce Shutt fan club.

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