The greater part
“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go. ”
— Martha Washington
I don’t know when Martha Washington said or penned these oft-quoted words, but she certainly had reason to know firsthand of their truth. Her story was one of wealth and privilege tempered by sorrow, hardship and uncertainty. During her remarkable life, she had the experience of losing two husbands and four children to death. She also endured wartime camp life, staying with her husband (at his request) throughout much of the Revolutionary War.
Accounts of her later years state that she found great comfort in her faith, and even spoke of anticipating death as “a pleasant journey.” The riverside home she shared with George Washington, where they both are buried, is a fitting tribute to her determination to remain serene. Strolling the grounds of Mount Vernon, with its colorful gardens and gorgeous view of the Potomac River, visitors are refreshed by the peace and beauty of this carefully preserved estate.
I’ve always found it inspiring to read the stories of people who lived in the past, whether they were well known or relatively obscure. We are fortunate to have countless diaries, journals and biographies, through which people who passed from this earth long ago may still speak to us, sharing their wisdom and strength. Whose life stories are among your favorites? Have you ever read a biography that left you feeling encouraged, enlightened or determined to learn from another person’s journey?
If you know of a book, online resource or blog post that features an inspiring story, feel free to share your thoughts and links in the comments. We all love to meet fascinating people, even if they are no longer here with us!
Today is my 300th daily post! Thanks for being with me on this journey, which has lasted almost a year now. You have given me joy each day, and made the tough times bearable!