A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength. – Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)
I have always loved the writings of Ferrol Sams, Georgia physician and writer (and Emory U. grad, I might add). He’s always written from the standpoint that all of us are searching for meaning on our lives. His book Epiphany is a compilation of three philosophical novellas that center on people experiencing revelation in their lives.
“Harmony Isn’t Easy” is my favorite novella in Epiphany, which shows how important humor is to our lives. He tells the following story that circulated around his family anytime someone had a “Melrose” kind of day:
An old farmer, the story went, arose at daybreak, dressed for the field and went to his kitchen for breakfast. There was no food on the table, no light on, and the stove was cold. He knocked on the door to his housekeeper’s room to ask explanation and was answered with the plaintive wail, “I ain’t cooked you no breakfast cause I’m too sick. I ain’t even able to get out of bed. I need for you to go get me the doctor out here and that just as quick as you can.”
The farmer sighed but went dutifully back to his room and changed from overalls into his suit in preparation for going to town.
When he went outside, he found that his old car wouldn’t crank. He sighed, and by the dint of much straining managed to roll it over a rise and down a little hill to jump-start it. He chugged on until he had to ford a creek, where he got off-center a little and the car was stuck.
He sighed, but patiently removed his shoes, rolled up his pants legs and managed with a prise-pole to free his car and go on his way.
A quarter mile down the road he had a flat tire. He folded his coat, with a sigh, changed the tire and put on the spare. A mile later he had another flat tire. He gripped the steering wheel and thought for a while. Then he removed the flat and with patience began rolling it before him toward town.
A half-mile from the car, the sky suddenly darkened. Rain began falling so heavily that the old man could barely see. Within seconds, he was soaking wet. He felt his shoes filling with water, he felt his only suit shrinking on his frame. He let the tire fall to the ground before him, raised his clenched fists to the heavens and howled at the top of his voice, “My God! Why do all these things have to happen to me?”
With that the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and a deep voice boomed down, “I don’t know, Melrose; there’s just something about you that chaps My ass!” - Epiphany, Ferrol Sams, 1994, p. 122
Keep smiling. It's good for you.