A good friend recently confessed she has a love-hate relationship with May.

“It’s generally stressful, but this year May has turned from busy into overwhelmed. End of school, Mother’s Day, prom preparations, graduation …” Her list continued with additional difficult expectations.

I get it. For years, Mother’s Day was always a hard day for me.  I missed my Mom, who died before she reached sixty and never met my children. May in our family holds three birthdays and Mother’s Day. In years past, it also meant, for my husband and I as college faculty, preparing, giving, and grading final exams. We also added graduations into the mix. Currently, at a distance, I’m hearing about my grandchildren’s end of school projects, exams, and anticipating saying good-by to friends. Their households are moving at record pace with not much breathing space. Necessary has taken over, and  within minutes could become overwhelmed.

Later that week, I received a call from another friend, sharing devastating news. There wasn’t a shred of merriment in her voice or about her situation. She saw no apparent fix, only appreciation for the gift of prayer and selected scriptures to console her heart.

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalms 94:19 ESV)

The merry month of May isn’t always merry.

The April showers don’t always bring May flowers.

This morning I took my usual walk. I passed an older gentleman slowly walking using a quad cane. On my trip back home, I checked my distance. I had clocked 1.5 miles; he hadn’t made it to the end of the block.

What’s his “merry” in the merry month of May?

As I sped up to finish my walk, I got my answer as I overheard a neighbor getting his mail, call to him, ”How are you doing today?”

I slowed down a bit to listen. “Beautiful day, isn’t it? Glad I could be out to walk.” I’m guessing he saw May flowers.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV)

Apparently, even walking at a snail’s pace, that gentleman had a merry heart. His focus gave him a healthy perspective.

We often misunderstand merry as celebrating with music and confetti. Life often calls for other responses. We do not smile in grief, pain, or watching a loved one struggle. But we can respond with attitudes emphasizing the sweet over the bitter and be refreshed by consolations of our soul

The mental and physical health benefits to a positive outlook are well documented in scientific studies. Long before research, these verses of scripture tell that truth.

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What about you? How has focusing on the sweet over the bitter, moved overwhelmed to merry?

Share with us, how have you seen showers in April or any other time, bring May flowers?

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalms 94:19 ESV)

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