"The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth,
and delivereth them out of all their troubles."
It was a cold winter morning. Snow covered the ground.
The frost on the trees sparkling in the brightness outside
seemed to find no reflection in me. I had been confined
to my bed for more than six months. I was gloomy and
despondent. It seemed as though all the light and joy
had gone out of my life and that only pain and suffering
and sorrow were left to me. I had no desire to live.
Again and again I prayed that I might die. I should have
welcomed any form of death, even the most horrible. I
had grown morbid, and almost despaired. I had been prayed
for again and again, but the healing touch came not. Life
seemed to hold for me no ray of hope, no gleam of sunshine.
As I lay brooding in my melancholy state, a red grosbeak,
with his bright red plumage, alighted on a tree a few feet
from my window. His eyes sparkled as he gazed at me with
interest. He turned his head, now this way and now that,
apparently studying me intently, and then gave me a cheery
call and hopped as near to me as he could get and repeated
his cries over and over.
Somehow his cries took the form of words in my mind. This
is what he said to me: "You, you, you, cheer up, cheer up,
cheer up." He hopped about from limb to limb, wiping his
beak, picking at pieces of bark, but ever and anon hopping
back to look at me and cry again. "Cheer up, cheer up,
cheer up." This he did for a long time, then he flew away,
only to return soon and to peer at me again, crying his
merry "You, you, you, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up " for
more than two hours he continued to repeat this and then
went away, and far in the distance I heard the last echoes
of his notes still saying, "Cheer up, cheer up."
It seemed as though God had sent the bird to bring a
message to my soul; and as I thought of the cold and
the snow and the winter winds, of the bird's uncertain
supply of food, of his many enemies, and considered that,
in spite of all this, he could be so cheerful and gay,
it made me feel ashamed that I should be so melancholy
His message, enforced by his example, sank into my heart.
I began to think over the favorable side of my situation.
I began to consider how many things the Lord had bestowed
upon me in the past-his mercy, his kindness, and his blessings.
My heart took courage, hope began to lift herself up from
the dust. I reflected over the way I had yielded to
discouragement. I saw that if I was ever to rise above it
I must set myself resolutely to the task of looking upon
the bright side and of overcoming the gloom and heaviness.
The message of the bird made me ashamed to submit longer
to my feelings. I resolved then and there that I would be
different. And from that day I began to act and think and
speak more cheerfully. Many times I had to act contrary to
the way I felt, but I found out that this was having an
influence upon my feelings, and the more I practised being
cheerful the more cheerful I became.
Many times I have been sorely pressed down in spirit, but
I have found that I can act cheerfully and talk cheerfully
even in the midst of depression, and that this is not
hypocrisy, but the true way in which to meet such things
and conquer them.
Cheerfulness is largely a matter of habit. We must do one
of two things--either yield to our feelings and let them
be our master, or compel our feelings to yield to us that
we may be their master. It is a case of conquering and
being conquered. So many persons are at the mercy of their
emotions. If they do not feel well in body, or their mind
is troubled, or their spiritual sky is clouded, they yield
themselves to gloomy thoughts and look upon the dark side
of the picture. Their thoughts and feelings are reflected
in their faces and actions and words. This, in turn reacts
upon them, and they then feel worse in body and mind.
Everyone around them knows how they feel. This is putting
a premium on your bad feelings. It is encouraging them.
And it is a very bad habit. You can be cheerful if you will.
Do not wear your troubles on your face. Do not let them
put a note of sadness in your voice. Cease your sighing:
you are only adding to your burdens. Take the bird's advice
and cheer up. You can if you will. You can hide your burdens
instead of advertising them. To hide them will help you to
forget them. You have a place to put your burdens--"Casting
all your care upon Him."
I still suffer; I still have periods of mental depression;
but I have learned to be cheerful and not let these things
be on exhibition. I find it now the easier, and by far
the better way. Cheerfulness is a habit; get the habit.
It depends upon you, not upon your circumstances. You can
rule your circumstances instead of letting them rule you.
Take hold of your bad feelings with a will and conquer them
with cheerfulness. The task may not be easy at first, but
keep at it and you will win. Do not despair if you lose a
few battles. You may have cultivated gloom for so long a time
that it has become the fixed state of your mind. Overcome
the habit. God will help you. When your feelings become
gloomy, say, "I will not be so," and force your mind into
other channels. It will want to go back to its former habit,
but as often as you catch yourself thinking along gloomy
lines turn your thoughts back to the sunshine. Put good
cheer into your voice and a smile on your face, no matter
how you feel. It will prove a tonic for soul, mind, and body.
Listen to the redbird. Hear his merry, "Cheer up, cheer up"
and act upon his advice. You will find it worth while.
"What the Redbird Told Me" is an uncopyrighted work by C.W.
Naylor and is featured, along with many others, on Jerry Boyer's
wonderful website, Heart to Heart. Please visit. Click on the
link "Main Page" at the bottom of the page to go to the site map.
"When we long for life without difficulties, remind
us that the mighty oak grows strong in contrary winds,
and diamonds are made from extreme pressure."
"When thou passest through the waters, I will
be with thee; and through the rivers, they
shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest
through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not
dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen
thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold
thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
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