100: A Merry Heart

100: A Merry Heart

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

A Merry Heart

By Jennifer Smith

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

~Proverbs 17:22

Mother’s Day was quickly approaching. Like many people, we had been adversely affected by the economy. Living paycheck to paycheck, our savings account evaporated into thin air. There was no extra money for anything. It has always been a tradition for Easter that I get a new dress to parade around in like a vain peacock. Well, when I became a mother for the first time, my husband thought it only appropriate to get me a new dress on Mother’s Day, as well. But I knew that no new dress would be coming for me this year. We had been creative in making eggs into fifteen different recipes, and hot dogs were our new T-bone steak. Life had thrown us some lemons and, frankly, we weren’t lemonade drinkers.

I tried not to get discouraged. “Our rainbow will come soon,” I kept assuring myself, but it seemed that lightning struck everywhere I stood. I was getting tired of being frazzled and squeezing every bit out of those lemons.

Mother’s Day was my day — a whole day dedicated to me — and I was dreading it. When I woke up that day, the only thought I could muster was, “What kind of eggs will I make today?” But there was a card on the table. On the outside of the envelope it stated, “Enclosed is a few dollars for a new dress. Enjoy.” My heart started pitter-pattering twice as quickly as normal, and I thought, “Craig must have been setting money aside.”

I opened the card and pulled out a check for one thousand dollars! In the memo, it stated that the money was for a new dress and shoes. I’ve never spent more than fifty dollars on a dress, so I knew something was up. I looked on the back of the envelope, and it stated, “P.S. Please don’t cash for three more years.”

I burst into laughter. But as I read the card, my husband’s words were so warm and encouraging that I began to cry. We went to church that day, and although I was in old clothes, I radiated with joy and gratitude because I was clothed in love and laughter. I found that I was rich, even living on eggs. After that day, I began squeezing those lemons cheerfully, and soon we all enjoyed the taste of lemonade. I found this plaque at a store and put it in our home: “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.”

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