Sometimes life can just crush you. It can break your heart. There are seasons disappointment can be so oppressive that you wonder how you can go on. I’ve had a bit of pain and disappointment in my life over the years. Sometimes to buffer the pain of life I have visited the little village of Mayberry (the setting for the old Andy Griffith television series). Sometimes I have visited Walton’s Mountain. In the last twenty years I have returned over and over again to Jan Karon’s village of Mitford in the mountains of North Carolina to try to learn and remember how to see the goodness of God in the badness of the fallen world around me.
Mayberry and Walton’s mountain were television communities. The Village of Mitford is the fictional creation of Jan Karon. Visiting Mitford gives me a hopeful picture of what life can be like where people walk with God and walk in love.
Lately I’ve been dealing with some heartaches–some disappointments that could knock the wind out of my soul and crush my spirit. This morning I was reading an interview with Jan Karon. My eyes clouded with tears and my heart was filled with hope as I read Jan Karon’s answer to the question; “Is Mitford real?”
Is Mitford Real?
People say to me quite plaintively, “Oh, how I wish Mitford could be real.” Well, Mitford can be real. Mitford is real, but we have to do our part. Mitford doesn’t just come to us like some cute little idyllic, cozy Kincaid greeting card. We have to pitch in. We have to keep our eyes and ears and hearts open to others. We have to be willing to put ourselves out there. It doesn’t all come to us. We have to go out to it. If we go out to greet it, we will find it. Do something for somebody else. Give somebody a hug, and do it with a full heart. Listen to the humor. Watch and observe the humor in other people’s lives and in your own. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Just get out there and wade in up to your neck into that sea of humanity, which is so needy. Smile at somebody for goodness sake!
There you are. You don’t live in Mitford and neither do I but you can go out there today and smile at somebody for goodness sake!”
August 15, 2014