I read the following article in Word for Today on the 6th December and it really touched me so I want to share this with you.
‘We decided to reprint this story because its message is timeless. ‘They huddled inside the storm door – two children in ragged, oversized coats. “Any old papers, lady?” I was busy. I wanted to say no – until I saw their feet. Little sandals sopped with sleet. “Come in and I’ll make you some hot cocoa.”
There was no conversation. Their soggy sandals left marks on the hearthstone. I served them cocoa with toast and jam to fortify them against the chill outside. Then I went back to the kitchen to work on my household budget. The silence in the front room struck through me. I looked in. The little girl held the empty cup in her hands and looked at it.
The boy asked, “Lady, are you rich?” I looked at my shabby slipcovers. “Am I rich? Mercy no!” The girl put the cup in its saucer – carefully. “Your cups match your saucers.” Her voice was old with a hunger not of the stomach. They then left, holding their bundles of paper against the wind.
They hadn’t said thank you. They didn’t need to – they’d done more than that. Much more. Plain blue pottery cups and saucers and they matched. Potatoes in brown gravy, a roof over our heads; my man with a steady job – these things matched too. I moved the chairs back from the fire and tidied the living room. The muddy prints of small sandals were still wet on my hearth, I let them be. I want them there in case I ever forget how rich I am!’
Left to fend for themselves
As I’ve carefully typed up the words exactly as they are written, I am strangely emotional. My mind drifts back to the Victorian era where I guess this story stems from. In those days’ many children were orphaned and on the streets, doing anything they could to get food and shelter. There wasn’t the social care system we have now – these small children were left to their own devices for survival.
This then makes me think of all the things I have in my life including matching cups and saucers. As we approach Christmas I think of all the homeless people in our towns and cities and how they too have to survive and don’t have matching cups and saucers. Julie and I help where we can and we have plans to do more in the future.
Focus on what you have
It makes me realise just how wealthy we are and makes me determine to be grateful for all I have in my life. I do have a roof over my head and food to eat. I do have a wonderful wife, a mother who is 93 years of age and still going strong, a sister, brother, a sister in law, a nephew, great friends, an exciting business to run, legs to walk, eyes to see and the ability to taste food.
It is so easy to complain about the things we don’t have and to ignore the amazing things we do have in life. Happiness is often described as being content with what you have, where you are right now. If we are always striving for another pay rise, or a better car, a better home, more holidays etc we will never be happy. It will always be ‘one day I will be happy when I get……..’
Gratitude is key
Julie and I don’t have the biggest house or the best car but we are very happy with what we have. I talk a lot about gratitude and I believe that being grateful for what you have on a daily basis is the bedrock of living a happy life. Being mindful of what you have during each day is a great habit to get into. Taking moments many times a day just to appreciate the good things in life makes you experience the feelings of gratitude.
This morning I read something else in the Word for Today which I believe makes a difference in the world. One Christmas a big department store posted this sign: ‘The Value of a Smile; it costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive it, without impoverishing those who give it. It happens in a flash, and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich that they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits. It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged or borrowed, or stolen, for it is no earthly good until it is given away. And if in the last minute rush of Christmas buying, some of our salespeople should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours. For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!’
They talk about starting a chain reaction – so this Christmas let’s all walk about with a smile on our faces and see what happens.
Thoughts for Christmas
1. Do you find yourself always looking for the next thing to make you happy?
2. If you do then you won’t ever be happy because you are always looking for the next big thing.
3. Try getting a blank sheet of paper and make a long list of all the things you are grateful for. This may be difficult to start with but once you do this you will realise just how blessed you really are
4. Make a conscious effort to smile more this Christmas and let’s start a chain reaction.
5. If you aren’t following me on Twitter then feel free to do so and I will follow you back @jdmindcoach
Well that’s it for this week and it just remains for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a spectacular 2017!
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