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A Recipe for Happiness

by Laura Swindon-Ross  
8/09/2010 / Short Stories

I remember as a child, visiting my Aunt Mabel, in her small house by the sea. I don't know what was the more pleasurable - visiting Aunt Mabel, or visiting the sea, for I loved them both! Never was a grown-up so kindly and enthusiastic, so interested in the world, as my Aunt Mabel was. We'd sit on the porch, and she'd tell me stories of when she was a girl. Id listen with earnest pleasure to those stories of a childhood long ago and then she'd hoot with real, belly laughter when I tried to tell a joke. Later, shed watch me running along the beach, chasing at the frothing edges of the dancing waves. In the evenings, as the sea whispered its sandy secrets to the shells, Aunt Mabel would light a candle on the table outside, and then she'd put on her round-framed glasses and read me passages from the Bible. I'd close my eyes and lay back on the big, old couch and listen, as the stars lit up the sky... I didnt know it then, but looking back, life didnt get much better than those shared, sequestered evenings with my Aunt Mabel; they were in themselves, a rich and glistening gift from a loving God.
Y'know, in our own way, over the years, Aunt Mabel and I made quite a study of the great book that found its way to Aunt Mabels ancient outside table. After wed read and talked a while, Id return the heavy bible in its hand-embroidered slip to its pride of place on the sturdy wooden lounge-room shelf. I was aware that something precious had passed between us, my beloved Aunt Mabel and me. Last thing at night, Aunt Mabel would take my hands, and draw me close and kiss me. Then she'd send me off to bed, with a blessing. One of my favourite of Aunt Mabel's blessings was this one:

Happiness (she would say) is
Whatever God gives you to work with
And making a gift of it to others
Letting God's light shine through you
Just a little every day...
That's the surest recipe to chase the blues away!

Why did this little verse mean so much to me? Well, Aunt Mabel was confined to a wheel-chair. She'd been in that wheel-chair ever since she was 10 years old, when she'd had a horrific accident and fallen from a horse. I guess Aunt Mabel knew a lot about disappointment... but if she did, she didn't show it! I reckon Aunt Mabel had travelled more miles for God in that wheel-chair, than most people do on two good legs. Well, God calls us to take note of our lives, and serve Him with joy and praise - at least, that's what Aunt Mabel used to say. Now, if she could do it from a wheel-chair - how much more able are most of us! No more excuses! We need to take whatever gifts God gives us, and shine!

"Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 4:11

2010 Laura Swindon-Ross. All rights reserved

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I'm a teacher and Christian writer.

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