A Matter of Style

Karen Bables

Read: Proverbs 17:22; Psalm 30

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Prov. 17:22)

English professor Philip Simmons suffered from a degenerative disease called ALS, which affects the nervous system and causes muscle problems. He died at age 44, just months after the publication of his book Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life. Simmons reminds me that I don’t get to choose how I “fall”; none of us do. What causes us to “fall” could be the death of someone we love, an injury, or sickness. Yet Simmons says, “Perhaps . . .  we do have some say in the matter of our falling . . . Perhaps we have a say in matters of style” (p. 4).

This made me think of Gini, who volunteered as an administrative assistant in a literacy center. She was skilled and hospitable in her role, but as she reached her mid-80s, she recognized that she was “falling.” She graciously gave up her volunteer work, stopped driving, sold her treasures, and moved into an apartment. She never complained about what she was missing; instead, she always looked for ways to “bloom where she was planted.” Gini chose to face her changes with “style.”

Proverbs tells us we heal best if we choose a joyful heart rather than a broken spirit. God by his wisdom promises that he will change our “mourning into dancing” (Ps. 30:11). We cannot choose what will happen to us, but we can return to the promises of God and choose how we respond, no matter what! —Karen Bables

Prayer: Lord, teach me to be content in all situations.