On days when disappointment wants first place in my heart, when I’m homesick for my out of state kids and grandkids, when the thumb on my left hand protests every move and old songs make me teary, there is an old principle that my Aunt Naomi gave me a long time ago.
“When I was discouraged or down in the dumps and wanted to give up,” she told me, “Monnie would tell me to find someone to do something for before I felt sorry for myself.” She was inclined to obey him, no matter what she may have been personally feeling, and it not only changed her attitude, but the involvement of this “Yankee” in the lives of the people of Florida gave her a place that caused them to forget that she was ever an outsider.
Sometimes I feel sorry for a young Naomi Yoder – a thousand miles from her parents, siblings and the familiar, a young mother who left behind a tiny grave in the Greenwood Mennonite Church cemetery, making her way in a culture when the first response to the northerners was mistrust in the least and malice in the fore. But LIFE proved what she was worth , and it also showed the rest of us that JOY is a matter of choice. (And people are drawn to a happy person who wants to love on them!)
And so, today, a batch of bread rising in my kitchen, hard boiled eggs for deviled eggs and a pretty jello salad in a vintage Tupperware mold –
these things bring me joy and remind me to look out instead of in. There are many things right in my world, and there are plenty of people to love.
I’m going to go looking!
And so this Delaware Grammy is encouraging her reluctant heart to give grateful praise.