Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Hello my friends! For years I’ve had this scripture flash through my mind on days when I’m feeling grumpy. The morning that I cracked these eggs into my frying pan had been a rough one and I was feeling particularly cranky. When the eggs stared back at me like a bewildered face, I had to laugh. I still think God was sliding a little humor into my day to cheer me up and crack my negative attitude. It worked.
When my life changed, it was sudden and drastic. It was the type of life change that you don’t just build a bridge and get over. It’s one of those changes that you have to build a bridge and get over while your hands are tied around your back and you can’t walk. I suddenly found myself in a very crippled body. I’m talking every limb immobilized, and needing many surgeries crippled. I have a fancy shiny handicap plaque to serve as a constant reminder that I am not quite normal.
I fought depression, pain, and exhaustion. Spiritual and emotional struggles began to rear their ugly heads. Like smoke rising from smoldering ashes, I fought very ugly thoughts. I felt useless. I felt like my spirit had been broken with my body. This was so not me. I am a rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies type of thinker like my daughter. I like laughing till I can only wheeze. I love making other people smile. I love joy. I was having an identity crisis; I’d lost my independence and normally positive outlook.
During this difficult time I was reading my scriptures. One day, Proverbs 17:22 stopped me in my mental tracks.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Good like a medicine! I need good medicine! This momma is a train wreck and she is a hurting! How the thunder do I get medicine for my broken spirit? I need to possess a merry heart.
I have found that one thing, and one thing alone, softens my heart when I’m in this difficult place where the light is so far off, I can barely see it. I have to be thankful. This is when I learned to be thankful for even nail clippers for an ingrown toenail, and my chair to prop up myself. I had to focus on being grateful for all I had. I would lie in my bed and pray and list every single thing and person that I was thankful for. The longer it took, the better. This medicine for a broken spirit doesn’t come easy. It’s like oozing sap from a tree. It is gonna take a lot of thankfulness for enough soul medicine to ooze out and soothe my broken spirit. If I focused hard enough on what I had…and not what I didn’t…I found some peace, and contentment would creep in.
The absolute coolest part of this was that I started to see that this medicine is the medicine that will rub off of us and onto everyone we come in contact with. We can be bitter poison, or be a medicine to the souls of those around us.
One day as I waited in a line at the store, a middle aged woman stood in front of me. She ranted and complained about the wait, the lack of associates, the speed of our checkout girl’s bagging, and then demanded to talk to a manager who politely came and endured her emotional explosion. Every person in line with me had a raised eyebrow and was probably as annoyed with her as I was. It was not pleasant being within earshot of this lady, and the wake of attitude destruction she left…was palpable. The poor sales girl at our checkout had become shaky. She was no longer smiling, and she was nervous and avoiding eye contact with the rest of us patrons. A few were ahead of me and quietly paid for their things and scurried off.
As I stood there, I noticed that she filled every bag of groceries with a system. It was a good one, so bread wasn’t smashed and eggs weren’t crushed. She had greeted every one with a hello, and had asked how their day had gone. Before the enemy of joy stomped through her line, she had flashed some very nice smiles.
My turn approached and as my groceries slid down the conveyor belt, I debated how to patch this poor girl’s occupational emotional injury. I said “Hello” and then paused awkwardly (I only know how to do awkward well). “I appreciate how you remained respectful and courteous to that woman. All of the rest of us understand you were working as fast as you could, and I personally appreciate that you are loading food in a way that doesn’t turn a box of corn flakes into casserole topping before we get home.” She chuckled, said “Thank you” and then she smiled. In fact, as I picked up my bag, the lady behind me was smiling and so was the guy behind her.
I limped out of the store and on the slow hobble I had a moment of clarity. That lady was bitter poison, and she had atomic bombed the atmosphere with negativity that thundered through each of our souls standing there. Kindness and choosing positivity had been the medicine. It changed the negative course that had abducted our attitudes, and it freed us to walk back toward kindness, appreciation, and support.
I leave you with this. Proverbs 17:22,”A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones”.
Let’s be medicine…and permeate whatever pool we wade into with the medicine of joy and healing.