(from: LESSONS LEARNED)
Oh! I was jousted from a short nap. A bird was loudly singing in my back yard; I sat up quickly bumping my head on the flower basket that hung low over my head. “What had I been thinking?” I had waited so long for spring to arrive this year I went a little crazy. I had hung old baskets, new baskets, and borrowed baskets everywhere. They were filled with stump dirt from the farm and potting soil from the store. I had yet to fill them with flowers, but I was ready to. My eyes were still closed due to the flashing colorful stars I saw.
I leaned my head back on the pillow attached to the porch swing (you know the swing, if you know me) and let the dizzy sensation slowly subside. Squinting against the “outer” bright sunlight and the “inner” neon display, I gingerly peeked through half opened lids and stared as the basket slowly and fuzzily came into view; I thought I saw straw, wicker, sticks. Maybe it was my favorite ~ a bluebird’s nest? But no, it was just my half-finished spring project.
My house work was almost finished; my devotionals over, and I was ready to continue my morning doze. But that was not to be; the basket had snagged my thoughts and away we flew, the bluebird and me.
I’ve always remembered the words of the song, “joy, real joy, wonderful joy.” Joy is gifted to me as a life sustaining blessing from the Lord. But in “everyday living” I can stand a lot of real and wonderful happiness too; happiness is birthed by happenings. From childhood the words “bluebird of happiness” had captured my imagination and took me to unusual places and stirred dreams of sunshine and sugar. Don’t ask why those words are linked together, because I don’t know. Add to that blue skies, ah my favorite color ~ true blue. When these three things occur at one time I experience happiness, and just as joy feeds my eternal soul, happiness can shape my earthly days; I give thanks for both.
As a child, my mother would read to me and sing the song “Blue Bird of Happiness.” There were also “Alice Blue Gown” and “Little Boy Blue,” but this time I’m sticking to my blue bird because I’ve always favored him. The serendipity of those years and those moments remained with me and glazed my life with an ability to be uplifted by colors and music.
With these thoughts and memories buzzing around in my head, I grabbed my laptop and went a-surfing; what was it about this “blue bird of happiness?”
I discovered part of its mystery and allure are formed by legend and tales from its ancient origins. Perhaps in the 1766-1122 BC pre-modern China, at some point during the Tang Dynasty. So, I was not the first little girl to be enthralled by this beautiful bird!
Another early mention was found in a particular old French fairy tale:
The Blue Bird
The Fairy Tales of Madame D’Aulnoy ( 1697 translated to English 1892 )
the story… a fairy tale
“There was once upon a time a king who was very rich in lands and money. When his wife died he was inconsolable, and for eight whole days he shut himself up in a little room, and knocked his head against the wall, so desperate was he. They feared lest he should kill himself, and they therefore put mattresses between the tapestry and the wall, so that however hard he might strike his head, he could do himself no harm.”
the core …
“The king had only one daughter by his first marriage, and she was looked on as the eighth wonder of the world. They called her Florine, because she was like Florine, so fresh and young and beautiful was she. She did not care to be dressed very grandly, but liked rather robes of floating taffeta, with jeweled clasps, and garlands of flowers to adorn her lovely hair. When the king married again she was only fifteen years old.”
and… the plot thickens…
“The new queen was a wicked step-mother, trying to avenge hew own daughter who is rejected by Prince Charming because he loves the King’s true daughter. The wicked queen has, through chicanery, had Florine locked up in a tower!”(Isn’t there always one?)
the inevitable rescue…
But the prince is transformed into a lovely bluebird; he attends to and brings Florine beautiful jewelry stolen from her step-mother, and gives her all kinds of aid, thus the story goes… the ending is of course perfect, and “the bluebird,” who brought much “happiness” to the princess returned to his human form and “When Truitonne (the mean, ugly step-sister)attempts to interfere, they quickly turn her into a sow. King Charming and Queen Florine are married and live happily ever after.”
As I stated, “A perfect ending!” especially for a little girl who most often felt sorry for the loser, yet ecstatic for the winner who always was a sweet and pretty princess and usually wore a blue, aqua, or silver gown…
Just a bit more research and I find a more recent poem called “The Bluebird of Happiness”
by George Carroll
And in the valley beneath the mountains of my youth, lies the river of my tears.
As it wends its way to the ocean of my dreams, so long ago they have gone.
And yet, if I were but to think anew, would
these dreams evaporate in my mind and become the morning dew upon a supple rose
whose beauty is enhanced with these glistening drops, as the sun of life peeks o’er the
mountains when youth was full.
Then I must not supply this endless fountain that creates the river of my tears but look
beyond those mountains
where the bluebird of happiness flies.
If I had read this as a little girl I’m sure I would have put on my hiking boots and gone a’ looking for that mountain!
Enough of this physical search, so I put my lap-top aside and took a journey back in time to those comfy, cozy nights when my mother tucked me in my little “youth” bed. This is the song my mother sang to a tired, little, “push the limit girl” whose day had been an adventure caused by walking the perilous line of good behavior and, well, doing her “thing!” It was calming, her voice was beautiful, and she drew clouds of security and drowsiness around me. Try to imagine you are me. Listen closely, intently, and expectantly…
The Bluebird of Happiness
Be like I, hold your head up high,
Till you find a bluebird of happiness.
You will find greater peace of mind
Knowing there’s a bluebird of happiness.
And when he sings to you,
Though you’re deep in blue,
You will see a ray of light creep through,
And so remember this, life is no abyss,
Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness
(1934 words by Edward Hayman and Harry Parr Davies
music bySandor Harmati)
Did you hear, are you happy?
So, you ask, “How do children separate fact from fiction, fascinating fables from firm foundations?”
I’m not sure I have the answer, I only know from my experience it was so. I give the credit to my mother who read much more of the Bible to me than fairy tales, and sang hymns more than songs of birds. I had trust in the Bible stories and knew they were true, because she said they were. At that time she and my daddy were my authority figures and I wanted to learn their truths, so I did.
Some of my favorite scriptures include birds and happiness. I always hoped some of the birds were blue.
In the scriptures your heart will be touched by the true source of joy, and where you find happiness, hope, home, love, strength, provision, selflessness, forgiveness, and eternity.
Genesis 8:8-9 Hope, Happiness
7-9 He sent out a raven; it flew back and forth waiting for the floodwaters to dry up. Then he sent a dove to check on the flood conditions, but it couldn’t even find a place to perch ~ water still covered the Earth. Noah reached out and caught it, brought it back into the ship.
Job 39:27b Home, Happiness
Did you command the eagle’s flight,
and teach her to build her nest in the heights,
Perfectly at home on the high cliff face,
invulnerable on pinnacle and crag?
Songs of Songs 2:12 Love, Happiness
Get up, my dear friend,
fair and beautiful lover ~ come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over;
the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over.
The whole world’s a choir ~ and singing!
Spring warblers are filling the forest
with sweet arpeggios.
Isaiah 40: 31 Strength, Happiness
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
Psalms 105:40 Provision, Happiness
They prayed and he brought quail,
filled them with the bread of heaven…
Matthew 10:29-31 Worthiness, Happiness:
“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail ~ even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
In time, the fables and lyrics and even the little blue bird itself have faded in their importance, but never have they completely abandoned me. My imagination is still tinted by them, but my life is colored and covered by biblical truths and the saving grace of Jesus Christ ~ the author of true joy and deep happiness, and the writer of my own story. I now have a favorite new color…
What is the color of Grace
that it should please my eye
and lead me to the path where
doth His promise lie.
What is the color of Love
ere’ the heart doth swoon
and draweth me onward, upward
over the sun, behind the moon
What is the color of Saving
whence God became man,
reconciling earth to heaven
no accident; a plan.
What is the color of Passing
On feathered wing, I cling
White, pure white and gold
Welcomed by the risen King
What is the color of Promise
so bold thus to keep
the giving of my life forever
alive, so not to sleep
What is the color of Keeping
the state of where I’m led
it’s the heart of Holy God,
and Jesus painted it red.
*All scripture from the Message Version
Picture courtesy of http://www.reusableart.com