Have you ever stopped to notice how many words surround us everyday? I’m not necessarily talking about the computer screen, the newspaper, or the book your reading. I’m talking about small words that are randomly found, yet make us stop and think; little messages that we discover.
I don’t know how many times I’ve taken pictures of the rusty nails and holes in our old tin barn. I have a fascination with rust, it’s texture and it’s unexpected color. Here I was again at the barn taking pictures of the rusty hinges and lock when I noticed a word stamped into the shank…hardened. I know this is a good thing for a lock, but what if it referred to me. The word hardened is an adjective that means “having become or been made hard or harder: as in hardened steel." That’s something that I don’t want to happen to me. I don’t want my heart to become hard as steel, unfeeling, and unsympathetic or callous. I don’t want to be known as the grouchy old lady next door or that cantankerous old woman. I know you’ve heard the elderly being characterized as crabby, cross, gripey, surly or bad-tempered. I can see how it would be so easy to let the hardships, heartbreak, and everyday struggles cause me to become bitter and hardened.
How can I stop that from happening to me? Will it help that I’m just aware of the possibility? I don’t think so. I think I need to begin right now and work each day to keep my heart open and responsive to others. There are things I can do beginning now…today!
- I can approach each day with a grateful heart. I may need to set aside a few minutes each morning to list maybe just three things that I’m grateful for.
- When I’m faced with a situation that makes me angry or stressed, I can force myself to get outside, go for a walk and notice something beautiful. It might just be a simple flower or the song of a bird or the color of the sky. Nature can give me a peaceful feeling.
- I can’t control what happens around me, but I can control my own emotions. When things seem tough, I can reach for something inspirational to read or listen to. My number one book for inspirational reading is, of course, the Bible, but there are many other sources where I can reach for help. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a few lines of encouragement.
Maybe this is on my mind because I turn 59 this week. I’m not elderly, but I am getting older. It would be so easy to slip into a negative attitude. I’ll let this little word I discovered remind me to be positive, to keep on smiling, to be filled with gratitude, and not let my heart be hardened.
"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, won or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." ~ Denis Waitley
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