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The Bluebird of Happiness

I learned to love books as a kid. Born before TV and technology came on the scene, a crank telephone hanging from the wall and a big console radio were all that connected us to the distant world. I was in college before my folks got their first television set so my childhood centered around the world to which books exposed me. I read books getting dressed, in the bathroom, at the table, after lights out with a flashlight, under trees, on the porch swing. Each night we’d snuggle with our father as he read to us. One of my happiest memories of my dad, who died too soon, was him reading to my mother as she crocheted. 

One of my favorite childhood books was a big blue anthology of classic tales and stories, including one called “The Bluebird of Happiness.”   It was a fairly long tale of a man who set out to discover the famed bluebird of happiness. He traveled the world like The Buddha seeking new experiences and making his fame and fortune but never discovering the elusive bluebird of happiness. Finally, as an old man having lost his health and fortune, he returned to his childhood home and there, with nothing left but gratitude for his home and many experiences, he finds the bluebird of happiness. Happiness is ours for the taking wherever we are Abraham Lincoln is to have said, if we but view the world through the eyes of gratitude.  

These days, as my husband’s vascular system slowly shuts down, we are finding our bluebird of happiness in these bittersweet times, just as the story concluded. I am profoundly grateful my husband did not die soon after coming home from the hospital for these precious days of closure and quiet companionship are healing old wounds and allowing us to experience a greater appreciation of each other and our shared lifetime, just as The Serenity Prayer promises if we can let go and let God be in control. 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change ( Illness and impending death makes it easier to detach from the false promises of our materialistic world and settle for everyday acts of kindness) 

The courage to change the things I can (letting go of unfulfilled expectations and ancient hurts to which we’ve clung) 

And the wisdom to know the difference. (Impending death has this way of showing what is truly important) 

Living one day at a time (how can we do otherwise when each additional moment and day is an undeserved gift?)

Enjoying one moment at a time  (just being in his presence fills me with such gratitude), 

Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. (It’s the challenges of Hospice, the caretaking and the limitations of being relatively housebound that makes each moment we have more precious.) 

Taking as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it (Coming to terms with the fact we have no control over our broken world, death and dying…  )

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will  (after a lifetime of trying to fix a broken world we are discovering that  living in the moment and being kind and sensitive to each other is all that truly matters )

So I may be reasonably happy in this life  and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. (How freeing those words  “reasonably happy.”  Knowing that being reasonably happy is all that’s ever been been expected takes away lingering feelings of failure and makes our glimpses of the bluebird of happiness exceptionally beautiful.)

Amen and amen

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