Resolve to Live Joyfully

30 Dec

Mimi, young portraitThe weekend before Christmas, my best friend’s 94-year-old grandmother passed away. Mimi—as I had known her—was beloved by her very large family of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and more who gathered at her bedside for days before she slipped into eternity late Saturday night.

I’d met Mimi many times, and I’d heard a lot of stories about her life, some from my best friend, and a few from Mimi herself. The oldest of five siblings, she was born in 1921 in Oklahoma and was raised during the depression by a single mother. She went on to marry a soldier who fought in World War II, and while he was at war, she gave birth to a baby with special needs. She buried that little boy not many years later. You can imagine some of the hardships Mimi endured during her 94 years. Her stories are legendary. Somewhere along the way, she learned to overcome trials most of us could barely comprehend.

More impressive than her stories, though, was the way she told them. No Mimi with kidsmatter how dark the tales, Mimi had a way of sharing them that made her listeners smile.

I can’t be sure, but I suspect Mimi knew something a lot of us never learn—that not everything was about her. She was able to separate herself from the hardships, the trials, and the people who’d hurt her. The trials made her stronger. And the people who’d been unkind—they had problems, no doubt, but the problems weren’t Mimi’s. They weren’t her fault, and they weren’t her responsibility.

So often, it seems we take the bad behavior of others personally. When the check-out woman at the supermarket is surly, we get defensive. Imagine if we could separate ourselves the way Mimi did. We could offer the surly check-out gal a genuine smile. We could cheerfully respond to the irritated bank clerk. We could wave at the impatient driver. If we could learn that not everything is about us, we might be kinder the people we interact with every day.

Mimi, old portraitAnd the world would be a better place of course, but it wouldn’t just affect others. Mimi was immeasurably kind and generous to the people around her, because she was so full of joy herself. She’d adopted an attitude of grace and carried a joyful and peaceful disposition. Despite her life’s many difficulties, betrayals, and tragedies, Mimi was genuinely happy.

Among other things, I resolve in 2016 to stop letting my trials rule my life. And I resolve to stop taking other people’s attitudes and behavior personally. I want to wear a garment of kindness, grace, and peace, so that I can overflow with joy the way Mimi did.



DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its FREE prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website,


Posted by on December 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


5 responses to “Resolve to Live Joyfully

  1. jerichakingston

    December 30, 2015 at 7:16 am

    A beautiful tribute, Robin. God bless Mimi’s family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robin Patchen

    December 30, 2015 at 9:30 am

    What I didn’t mention in the blog post was that when you’re waving at that impatient driver, I promise to try to wave back. I resolve to work on that this year, too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pegg Thomas

    December 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve known a few “Mimis” in my life. We’ve lost so much of our national treasure with the passing of The Greatest Generation. I’m not sure we can regain that on a national level, but I want to do my part to regain it in my life, my family, and my little corner of this globe. Great story. Great lady.


    • Robin Patchen

      December 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      A great point. They were a special generation–the last great generation of Americans, no doubt.


  4. Candice Sue Patterson

    January 4, 2016 at 7:19 am

    What a great testimony Mimi had. We need more Mimi’s in this world.



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