I write to a young man in prison. He was a student at my school several years ago and is now just months away from an early parole. He admits the bad things that he did, he knows he deserved the punishment, and he is ready to return to the outside as a new person. Confess, repent, be forgiven.
On the back of the envelope containing his most recent letter to me, he quoted Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.” Then he thanked me for my merry heart. Well, that made me smile and reflect on the importance of a sense of humor. My modern translation, THE MESSAGE, translates the verse this way: “A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.”
Be on the look out for things that will cheer your heart, make you smile or even laugh out loud. Here are a few things that have made my heart merry recently:
- The 6 and under soccer team all chasing the ball together. They are on the field to run with their friends, kick the ball if they can, sit down when they’re tired, and jump up and down when it’s time for snacks.
- Discovering there’s a new Dexter book coming out in December, DEXTER IS DELICIOUS. Dexter and Odd Thomas are my favorite fictional characters. They always make me smile.
- At our Good Friday service, the pastor explained the note card and envelope in the bulletin was for us to write our sins or whatever was separating us from God. The woman in front of me said, “I have a legal pad if anyone needs it.”
- The pastor burned the envelopes and when he brought the ashes to church on Easter, the wind blew across the bowl that held the ashes and blew everyone’s sins in his face.
I can always turn to Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry when I’m in need of a smile or a laugh. What makes your heart merry?