My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Live, Love, Laugh -- Key Words In Living More Than OK

Before we made our move to New Braunfels a co-worker of my wife gave her the three wooden sea gulls shown in the picture. On the wooden base each bird is attached to reads the words “Live, Love, Laugh”. We placed them in our new house in a built-in display shelf as one enters the living room area.

These three words capture much of the spirit of this blog in living our lives more than ok. As we recently walked through our neighborhood I noticed a couple houses have decorative signs with the saying “Live, Love, Laugh”. As I searched about these words on the internet I saw one sign that expands on them “Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often”. Wondering about the background of this phrase I then searched where the phrase came from. At a reply to a similar question was that the phrase came from a poem by a poetess, Bessie Anderson Stanley. Here is a copy of the poem.

Bessie Anderson Stanley wrote a poem in 1904 entitled "Success." It reads in its entirety:

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.

Let’s look at each word, the first being “Live”. We are placed on this earth to live not boring lives but to live well. We need to make the most of life and enjoy our time to the fullest. From the text of the poem the “live” is not just selfish existence but to make the world a better place. Take time to enjoy the beauty of creation. Living is also relating in a way to others to build them up. I see in the poem the importance of mentoring people around us to bring out the best in them.

The second word in the sequence in our bird picture is “Love”. In the poem the thought is to love much. The first thought that comes to my mind is the Greek term agape the one word for love that is used in the Greek New Testament in the context of God’s unconditional love. Also sacrificial love as is described in the Love chapter of the Bible, I Corinthians 13. Here is an except from verses 1-7:

If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
This love lived out in our lives can as the poem says, help us be a person who “left the world better than he found it…”.

The third word is laugh. The poem speaks of laughing often. A verse from Proverbs comes to mind. Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Laughter brings joy to our life and heart. Laughter is good therapy to help us be healthy as it relaxes us. It is a natural stress reliever. Comedy films are often popular as they help people feel good afterwards. Laughter therefore helps us to live better. It can brighten up a dreary boring day. Laughter also helps us from taking ourselves and life too seriously. I am all for being serious about life but sometimes we go overboard and we then need to learn to laugh at ourselves.

So as you go through this week think through these three important words, Live, Love, Laugh. Ask yourself are you Living Well, Loving Much, and Laughing Often?

Reflection: Reflect over the three words Live, Love, Laugh. What do they mean to you? Think over the poem and ask yourself how can you be an inspiration this week? On the coming weekend rent a comedy movie and enjoy some laughs.

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