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Even in Siberia

Even in Siberia there is happiness.

So declared Anton Chekov.

I've been thinking about what Chekov said ever since I came across the quote several years ago.

Happiness can be a hard thing to find, and slippery to hold on to.

Chekov's saying brings to mind a book on the subject.

I read Ellbserg's volume more than a decade ago. I've never forgotten the title, but I can't remember a thing about what's inside.

Like I said, happiness is slippery to hold on to.

The saint who has taught me the most about happiness is Lorraine Steinbring. For me, she is living proof of what Chekov was getting at.

Lorraine spent the final years of her life at a local nursing home. In all of my monthly visits to see her, I can only recall her being sad once. Although Lorraine was confined to her room and the bottom floor of the Good Samaritan Care Center where she lived, she was content. It didn't take much to make Lorraine happy.

She was satisfied to sit in front of the television watching the Game Show network. As she did, Lorraine had open one of her many word-search books on a night stand to work on.

Lorraine reminds me not only of the truth of Chekov's comment, she brings to life for me something written centuries earlier:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

These words were written by a man in prison. They can be found in Paul's letter to the Philippians.

Even in Siberia there is happiness.

Can the people of God say amen to that?


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