A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
- Proverbs 17:22
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
- Romans 12:6-8
“Two men went into the hospital at about the same time, having suffered similar heart attacks. One of the men grew depressed and irritable. He felt betrayed by his own body and saw his affliction as a sign of weakness. His attitude was sour and he cursed his fate. The other man took it in stride. He kidded with everyone who came to visit him, and he laughed long and hard. He refused to be brought down by his plight. Instead, he occupied his time cheering up other patients and chatting with the staff. The first man grew weak and frail. The other man left the hospital in good health, and resumed his old life quickly.
“The way we face life has a lot to do with how good we will feel about it. If we are negative, then life will be a burden, but if we are positive, life will seem like the greatest gift we’ve ever known. Happiness is contagious. When we are happy it spreads. However, sadness is contagious, too, and when we are gloomy, we spread a gray cloud over all the people we meet. A positive spirit is like a powerful medicine. It has a great deal of power to heal. It is so much better to face life with joy than to let life get you down. The person who feels that life is bad will wither and fail. God gave us life to enjoy, and He blesses us when we embrace it with happiness and contentment.”
- Dan & Nancy Dick, Daily Wisdom from the Bible
You have heard of the Charles Dickens novel, Tale of Two Cities, but my wife’s and my marriage could be Tale of Two Spouses. I feel that my wife has either a blessing or a curse, but most normal pains are never felt by her. She was washing a few dishes the other day, and while she stepped away, I stuck my hands in the sink to wash them and with a loud scream removed them immediately. To my wife, the water was mildly warm, but to me it was scalding. I walked across the room to get a towel to dry off, but the water had already evaporated. And she rebuked me for my histrionics. The water was hardly warm.
No, the water was roughly 120 degrees F (about 49 degrees C), about the point where normal people feel so much pain that they cannot hold their hand in the water. I checked the water heater setting, and I taught that magical temperature in furnace operation class. In other words, if the cooling water gets that hot while cooling the structural parts in a furnace, something is wrong, and it must be fixed during the next outage. In a home water heater, you should avoid such high temperatures for a variety of reasons, ne being if you have hard water (clogged pipes), but especially if you have little children.
But whether my wife feels the intense pain that others feel or not, she is almost always cheerful when in the hospital, clinics, or doctor’s offices, even when extremely ill. She has been in their shoes, and she knows how powerful a kind word can be.
I am never unkind, but if I am in pain, I will groan. I may try not to make a sound, but you can see the pain on my face. I almost never demand, and I try to say kind things, but sometimes, it is through gritted teeth due to the pain.
We are both very appreciative afterward. If I never feel the pinch when the phlebotomist takes a blood sample, they will get high praises. That is a pain that I know far too well, but there are some masters who can do it and you did not even know that they did it. You must thank them and applaud them.
My wife rolls her eyes at my joke telling. When I get into a stressful situation, everything reminds me of a joke. It is my way of calming myself down and if it helps others, then that is a bonus. But my jokes make my wife nervous, adding to her stress level. She often says, “This is a serious time. Why can you NOT be serious?!”
While she handles pain well, if she really feels pain, I handle stress well. And we both may miss a “please” here or there, added later, but we never miss the “thank you” afterward, even when the nurse or server was having a bad day. That “thank you” might be what they need to turn the frown upside down.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.