LAUGHTER IN THE WALLS

I pass a lot of houses on my way home; some pretty, some inviting. But my heart skips a beat when I see my house nestled against the hill. I’m especially proud of the way it looks because I drew the plans myself. It started out large enough for us. I even had a study, in which two teenage boys now reside! It had a guest room, but my girl and nine dolls are permanent guests there now. It had a room for Peg, who hoped to turn it into her sewing room. But two boys swinging on the Dutch door have claimed that room. Right now it appears I’m not much of an architect. But it’ll get larger again.

One by one they’ll go away to college, work, the service, their own homes. Then there’ll be room: a guest room, a sewing room, a study, just for the two of us. But it won’t be empty. Every corner, room, nick in the coffee table will be full of memories. Memories of picnics, Christmases, birthdays, bedside vigils…going barefoot, vacations, cats, dogs, black eyes…graduations, first dates, arguments, ball games…and a thousand other things that fill the lives of those who rear five kids.

And Peg and I will sit quietly by the fire and listen to the laughter in the walls.

Source | Bob Benson, Laughter in the Walls
(Nashville: Impact Books, 1969)

CONSIDER THIS 

Childhood and youth evaporate swiftly. So fill them with loving, wonderful, sustaining memories.

LETTING GUILT GO

Once upon a time there were three men. Each man had two sacks, one tied in front of his neck and the other tied on his back. When the first man was asked what was in his sacks, he said, “In the sack on my back are all the good things friends and family have done. That way they’re hidden from view. In the front sack are all the bad things that have happened to me. Every now and then I stop, open the front sack, take the things out, examine them, and think about them.” Because he stopped so much to concentrate on all the bad stuff, he really didn’t make much progress in life.

The second man was asked about his sacks. He replied, “In the front sack are all the good things I’ve done. I like to see them, so quite often I take them out to show them off to people. The sack in the back? I keep all my mistakes in there and carry them all the time. Sure they’re heavy. They slow me down, but you know, for some reason I can’t put them down.”

When the third man was asked about his sacks, he answered, “The sack in front is great. There I keep all the positive thoughts I have about people, all the blessings I’ve experienced, all the great things other people have done for me. The weight isn’t a problem. The sack is like sails of a ship. It keeps me going forward.

“The sack on my back is empty. There’s nothing in it. I cut a big hole in its bottom. In there I put all the bad things that I can think about myself or hear about others. They go in one end and out the other, so I’m not carrying around any extra weight at all.”

Source | H. Norman Wright, The Perfect Catch
(Bethany House, 2000) pages 28-29

PONDER AND CONSIDER

What are you carrying in your sacks as you journey through life?

Reread the story about the three men and their sacks. With whom do you identify the most?

  • The one who forgets what is good in his life and remembers all the bad things that have happened to him?
  • The one who has the tendency to remind others about the good he has been doing, while hiding the mistakes he has made, not really letting those mistakes go?
  • The one who remembers all the blessings, while acknowledging and letting go of negativity and judgment toward self and others?

HAPPINESS IS AN ATTITUDE

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

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 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.”

Source | Unknown Author
I came across this story in Sean Conley, Karen Conley, Amazing Yoga, pages 65-66

PONDER AND CONSIDER
Growing older, and hopefully wiser, is like a bank account. You withdraw from it what you have put in. As you continue to deposit in the bank account of memories remember these simple propositions for a peaceful and joyful life:

  • Free your heart from hatred.
  • Free your mind from worries.
  • Live simply.
  • Give more.
  • Expect less.
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