Bluebird of Happiness
by Steve Goodier
A sign in a pet store read, "If anybody has seen the Bluebird of
Happiness, would you please notify this pet store?"
Happiness seems to be in short supply for many people. If the
results of recent surveys can be trusted, there is a general
decline of happiness in today's world. And people were not all
that cheerful a few years back! It was Oliver Wendell Holmes who
stated, "I might have been a minister for aught I know, if a
certain clergyman had not looked and talked like an undertaker."
(I have to say, though, that some clergy and undertakers I've
known could teach the rest of us something about joy.)
Joy and happiness are not always the same things. Happiness can
be thought of as more of a temporary, emotional condition, often
based on outside circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is
deeper. It is often contentment in spite of the unsettling
present. We can be basically joyful, regardless of a particular
unhappy situation that we may be enduring. It is sometimes just a
matter of keeping perspective on our troubles, and especially
when those troubles seem to be in long supply.
You may know the story of the man who had a marvelous way of
keeping joy in his life. He was a carpenter. He followed the same
ritual every day when he came home from the job. He stopped by a
small tree in his front yard and placed his hand on a couple of
branches. Then, when he walked into his home, it was as if a
magical transformation had occurred. All of a sudden, the stress
was lifted from him. He became energetic and joyful, able to
fully interact with his children and his wife.
He explained it this way: "That tree is my trouble tree. When I
come home I stop by the tree and, just like I leave my tools in
the truck, I leave my troubles outside of my home. I hang them on
that tree before greeting my family. Anything that does not have
to come in my house stays outside. Anything that I do not have to
deal with at home, I leave on that tree. And in the morning, I
stop by the tree and pick up the troubles I left there in the
Then he adds, "It's a funny thing, though. Every morning I always
find fewer troubles remaining than I hung the night before."
Here is a man who has no doubt seen the Bluebird of Happiness.
Chances are, it is nesting in a tree just outside his home.
There is wisdom in knowing that some problems can wait until
tomorrow. And more wisdom in knowing what to hang on the tree and
what to bring in. Managing daily problems well is vital to
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