I woke up this morning with the idiom, “misery loves company,” running through my mind, and I wondered what I could do with it as a subject for “Shirl and You.” My mother, now deceased, was next among my thoughts. I think this was so because I had often heard her repeat that saying. I also remember that when she was miserable so was the rest of us. Any family learns that when mom isn’t happy she surely can make others that way. Women know it too, and many of them place a small sign in the kitchen that reads, ” when momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
It’s been said that “happy people seek out happy people and those who are “down and out” seek the down and outers.” What does “down and out” mean? It’s believed to be a boxing term and simply means the losing boxer was down and unconscious. It was first recorded about 1901 but since has become a general term for anyone suffering from poverty. It was used frequently during the great depression in the early 1930’s. I find a study of that period of time very interesting and seem to gravitate toward movies set in that era. It doesn’t take much seeking of information before I’m reminded of what a difficult time it was to raise a family and the sayings, “down and out” and “misery loves company” take on different meanings. I could be critical of my upbringing during that time, but instead, I have come to the conclusion that my parents did the best they could under the circumstances. These circumstances included not relying on God to carry them through hard times.
One of the amazing aspects of God’s Word is not the fact that it includes many commandments for us to follow, but it also tells followers how important their thinking is in being happy. Once after a very difficult circumstance in his life, I remember telling my dad, (this was long after I had grown-up) that it was important to ” tear out the old thoughts and replace them with the new,” a struggle that everyone faces, yet, this is what the Bible tells us to do. Look up Romans 12: 2.
What a difference it alone can make in our lives. Correcting our attitudes to coincide with instructions in the Bible can make the difference between being happy and being miserable. These days, there is plenty of miserable company out there and I realize that there are many downtrodden and severely hurting people in our world, so many that we often feel helpless to act in their behalf. Perhaps each of us should start at home, and begin by taking that sign down off the kitchen wall, you know, the one about mom making everyone else miserable. Then the next step is to correct our attitudes.
Well, there you have it, another Shirl and You. You may choose to ignore the whole “kit and caboodle” (another saying for you to look up) or it may give you some food for thought. I’d like to hear what you’re thinking is on this subject.