Serious Sunday

The third Saturday in July, which was yesterday, is recognized in the U.S. as the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day.

Created by author and motivational speaker Martha J. Ross-Rodgers this day is intended for all of us to let go of the past and live for the present. To honor this day it is suggested that you get a piece of paper and a pen and write down your “could haves” and “should haves” and then throw it away. 

Once you have your “could haves” and “should haves” in the trash, make this resolution:

From this day forward, I choose not to live in the past. The past is history that I cannot change. I can do something about the present; I choose to live in the present.”

Nice thought. Nice commemoration of a third Saturday in July. A positive move, no doubt.

However, this mindset must be more than one day in July. It is something to be practiced every morning when you awaken and again every evening before sleep. This is a daily discipline, like brushing your teeth. Soon you will not need reminders, you will simply embrace it as a part of your everyday life. 

There is a corollary to this precept. The past can be a useful tool to gauge future decisions, boundaries, and even regulate self-control, self-restraint. 

Occasionally our haunted past can be the precipice to present and future redemption. 


You may be thinking…”What is blitheness?”

Blitheness is the state of being blithe. Did that clear things up?

The word blithe means joyous, merry, or happy in disposition; glad, cheerful: a blithe spirit.

We all know that person who boasts of holding positions that are always and only fulfilling. To which we say (at least to ourselves) “Seriously?”

Even exciting assignments and positions involve drudgeries. Let’s see…laundry, filling out forms, following steps, getting ready to go out for the day. Duties can be irritating.

But, why are some people thrown off by irritations while others remain lighthearted about them?

That question can most likely apply to every one of us. A specific duty may on one day be met with lightness and ease while the same duty on a different day may irritate. To a degree, that is simple human nature.

According to the Shaker lifestyle and mantra, in God’s realm, it is not the number of our petty duties or the lengths of our to-do lists that make life difficult. The answer appears to be the spirt in which we address our day’s details.

That is not to say that we always “grin and bear it” (that saying seemed befitting here – wink, wink). The adage of grinding our teeth and pushing through will not change our spirits. Those attitudes often fail us.

The hope is to be able to laugh in defiance at the often self-imposed daunting lists and to keep a perspective that allows blitheness to develop. The word develop, of course, insinuates practice.

Chores and duties will always be with us. That fact is an example of “accepting the things that cannot be changed.”

However, a blithe spirit; a serenity, will bring an ease and a lightness to the tasks.

Cheerfulness, like gloomy pessimism, is contagious. Blitheness is one germ I won’t mind catching.


The Key

It is national I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY DAY. I love that. It is not “I want to be happy day”, it is “I want you to be happy day.” One little word makes all of the difference. It changes everything.

Oh how much we want those we love to be happy.

The saying goes “A mother is only as happy as her least happy child.” Oh my goodness. Truer words were never spoken.

When one of my kids is hurting in any way; frustrated, angry, sad, rejected, lonely…I would give up a limb to change that.

When I was a young mother, my older sister told me something that a seasoned, wiser mother had told her. That valuable tidbit was: “Your goal is not to make your children happy. Your goal is to love them and help them learn how to be adults and point them to Jesus.”

I have failed my children in many ways. For that, I am saddened. Not one of us does it right all of the time. In fact, many of us find trial and error to be a lifestyle rather than an occasional bloop.

My children are now adults. They are good human beings. They have good hearts. I am so very grateful.

I read that there is a solution to feel happier. Two simple words: Practice thankfulness.

I also read this: It is ever so much harder to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it.

How true that is.

When we want someone else to be happy, it is a temptation to simply say so, to lightly suggest they just be happy. Kind words. Sweet thought. Nice idea.

But if we truly want someone to be happy, we may have to go back to the condition of the heart. We have to (lovingly) remind them to practice thankfulness. Something amazing and other-worldly happens when we do. A grateful heart protects you from negative thinking. And negative thinking leads to unhappiness. It happens every single time.

So I will end on this note:

Happy “I want you to be happy Day”. It begins and ends with gratitude.