The Happiness Secret

Is there really a secret to true happiness? I've learned from older people that being grateful is a big part of why they are truly happy.

Many elders have had it a lot harder during their lifetime than us "younger" folks. Many have been through wars, lived through the Depression, poverty and rose above it all to make a good life. They don't look back on the hard years as something they wished did not happen. Instead they say it made them thankful for what they had. It also made them pull together, work together, and enjoy the good times even more.

My daddy, (on the right) grew up working on the 160 acre homestead. There were cows to milk, hogs to slop, cotton to chop, and firewood to bring in. Many of these chores had to be done before he walked to school. He didn't think anything of it. Most of the young men of his time did about the same things. He was very grateful for his family. My graddaddy (middle) was one of the few men in his area to have a paying job, besides what he made from off the farm. At one time during the Depression, he supported five families. Times were truly hard.

We take for granted most of what we have. I don't know anyone that has to do without modern conveniences. I was ten before my mother had a dryer. She was really thankful for her washing machine and just hung her clothes out on the line to dry. She was also thrilled when she finally got a dryer. She still treats her current dryer with love and care. She still takes the heavy clothes such as jeans and bedding outside to dry. "They dry just as fast," she says. "It saves electricity."

Most of my growing up years, our family had only one car. Momma actually didn't learn to drive until I was older. If she wanted to use the car, she had to take daddy to work, and then pick him up at the end of the day. I don't know of any couple that only has one car. Even my parents now have two. By the way, I cherish those days when we picked daddy up from work. I usually got to go into the barber shop and wait for him. Sometimes I'd get the broom and sweep while he finished up his last haircut. I can still remember the smell of damp hair and crew comb. I noticed how daddy took great care to get each haircut to look just right. Somehow it made me see him in a different light.

Cell phone, computers, air conditioning, and televisions are found in nearly every home in America. Yet we all hear ourselves and our grown children complain that there are so many more things they wish they had. I wish we all could go back in time and look around the homes our parents kept. I believe we'd all think they were quite sparse compare to anyone's we know now. Yet, I don’t remember my parents ever feeling sorry for themselves. Even during our hardest years when momma knew where every penny went, we had a happy home. We were content.

I know I've become a lot more grateful in my older years. I realize that I am truly blessed with food, shelter, clothes and a wonderful family. I'm also very thankful for the beauty that God has surrounded me with. To just look outside and see the birds, the trees and the glory of the sky is something I never tire of. His creation is the evidence of who He is. I am grateful for it all!

Do you know the things that your elder cherishes and counts as blessings? Take some time to talk and learn more about what they are grateful for!