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Long Life Happiness
Photo: MorgueFile
This past May our family had the privilege of spending some time with my oldest living relative. Aunt Bertha is 106 years old, and possesses a clear mind, razor edge wit, and the distinct ability to make you feel loved and accepted no matter who you are. She’s in an assisted living program now, but continues to enjoy each day with fresh enthusiasm.

My wife and I enjoyed a delightful afternoon with her, asking questions, listening to her candid responses, and laughing together. During the conversation, a question was asked of her that was answered so eloquently that it took our breath away. “What’s the most important thing in life?” we inquired. Her one word reply was simple and profound; “living!” 

Her eyes twinkled as she shared the secret of the happiness that had buoyed her spirits through the joys and struggles of marriage, child-rearing, employment, and old age. In her long and illustrious life, she has personally witnessed the “coming of age” in the auto industry, commercial air-travel in its infancy, and the newfangled commencement of fast food restaurants, (a social and economic phenomenon that still intrigues her. Her favorite place to eat is Burger King ™.)

Remains Undeniably Resilient

She has experienced the tragedy of two world wars, the joy of marrying two men she loved, and the heartache of laying each of those mates to rest. She has been a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a friend to so many. But through life’s ups and downs, during a time when many might feel that there was nothing to be happy about, she has remained undeniably resilient and content by enjoying each day as a beautiful present from God.

Every new morning brings something fresh and exciting into her life. A note from a friend, a picture of a new grandchild, or the springtime sounds of a bird singing on her windowsill brings joy and an exuberance towards life that’s contagious to anyone she encounters. 

She has learned the profound truth that each of us would do well to acquire and apply; that God is the giver of good gifts, and that living can be the greatest gift of all.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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