Choir Notes

Misery is Optional
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4382

It has been said that while pain and heartache are inevitable, misery is optional. In other words, even amid the difficulties and adversities of life, we can choose happiness and reject misery. Misery so often leads to a sense of defeat and despair, the feeling that life is either so painful or so hard that it’s not worth trying. Although it’s not easy at times, we have the power to choose. 

Meg is a woman in her 70s who, like all of us, has known adversity. Her painful bursitis has kept her from moving as quickly as she once did. Eventually her medical problems left her homebound, but she chose not to be defined by her limitations. As she pondered what she could do, Meg got the idea to send cards to people. She quickly discovered that people love receiving cards. Hers are all homemade: she decorates them with beautiful photos and artwork; she tenderly writes personalized notes of encouragement and love. It’s more than a hobby; it’s her passion. She says that she just feels better when she thinks of others and sends them a card. 

Her husband helps by buying stamps, and he buys a lot of them! Most days she sends out three or four cards, sometimes as many as seven or eight. That adds up to more than a hundred cards every month. She says, “I can’t do much, but I can send cards.” The grateful recipients know that Meg cares about them enough to take the time to send her love and encouragement. 

This is how Meg chooses happiness. You may choose it in a different way. What matters is deciding not to dwell on the aches and pains, the struggles and strains of life. Instead, try to think of the beauty in the world, the good things that surround you, the people who could use a little care and encouragement and love. You’ll find that happiness is not bound by our circumstances—rather, it is activated by our choices.

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