I was raised to focus on the positive. Training yourself to look for the good, what is right, worthwhile, goes a long, long way toward a healthy mental state.
Today’s blog is not directly about Jacob. But, it is about how I respond to him and not letting my circumstances pull me down. There is something to be said about looking on the bright side. It will make today, tomorrow, and the day after that better!
The story below was shared with me probably 20 years ago. I cannot give credit to the author because I haven’t been able to confirm.
Maybe it will give you pause and something to think about as well.
The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home yesterday. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room…just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it.” she 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, and as long as my eye open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”
She went on to explain, “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. Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing.”
And with a smile, she said: “remember the five simple rules to be happy:
Free your heart from hatred.
Free your mind from worries.
Expect less and enjoy every moment.”
Jacob’s Granny recounts her own grandmother talking about special days giving her lots to think about. Fun memories that were deposited in her bank.
Now she is doing the same. Granny started a Donut Day with her great-granddaughters (Jacob’s nieces). While it is a tiring day from start to finish, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. The giggles, sprinkles, tasting, powdered sugar, smiles, and hugs are all going in her memory bank.
Free your heart from hatred. Proverbs 10:12 says: Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
Free your mind from worries. Matthew 6:25-27 says: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Live simply. Philippians 4:11-13 says: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Give more. Acts 20:35 says: You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’ The Message
Expect less and enjoy the moment. Psalm 16:11 says: You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
A week ago, we received hard news about Jacob’s granddaddy. Words like brain atrophy and dementia. A decline that we saw but didn’t seem real until a neurologist said so. Thankfully, he is still able to recall some new information. But it is those special memories he deposited through the years that will bring him more peace and joy. He’ll have those to draw from on down days.
Yesterday as I visited him, his speech therapist was working with him. He said, “tell her about Jacob”. I hope memories of him singing to Jacob will bring him happiness. He’s always loved and appreciated music but he wasn’t one to sing. But he did to his first born grandson. Recent events may not sick with him long but he has deposited much to make him smile.
Being with him reminds me to focus on the good times while we make memories. While he interacted with hospital staff last week, he said, “if you are friendly to people, they will be friendly back”. I’m soaking up his wisdom for the day I’ll need to make a withdrawal.
Create a positive pause and see what you might deposit in your memory bank. You’ll be glad you did as your happiness grows.