What if you could live a Mayberry life for real?

Since nobody can find Mayberry, RFD on a map, why do so many of us long to go there?

Perhaps it's because we ache to live in a place where kindness and goodness look to be a way of life. For everyone. Every day. 

We feel as if we know Sheriff Andy and Opie, AunMayberry-rfdt Bee and Barney. They're our kind of people.

Or we wish they were.

Who can forget that whistled theme song? If you do a bit of online research you will find that Andy Griffith (Sheriff Andy) had an outsize influence over every episode. It's true that this show portrayed a simpler life, but it was never sappy.

Always, Andy role-modeled a loving, understanding father to his son, Opie. No wonder that many viewers from troubled families found solace in watching this TV show.

Each of us felt warmed by Aunt Bee's tender care. Observers have noted that many young people who watched the show lacked flesh-and-blood positive role models at home. They found them in Mayberry, which always illustrated a weekly dose of peace and stability. 

That's been true since The Andy Griffith Show ran in the 1960s. It still is, even now. This show remains so popular it's still running--and may continue into the next generation.

Mayberry, RFD presents life as we wish it were

Oh sure, these Mayberry residents are kinda quirky, some more, some less. You might say they're a lot like you and me.

Still, we can tell these are good people because we watch how they talk to each other and treat each other. They have the usual ordinary problems and conflicts everyone has, but in Mayberry they always resolve them--kindly and with respect. Everyone learns a lesson and they remain friends. Smiling friends.

It's as if someone smoothed off the rough edges of daily life in Mayberry.

If we kept a list, it could include qualities like these:

  • Family strength and love
  • Mutual respect and fairness
  • Kindness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Faith in God

Does this list remind you of anything? 

The Apostle Paul detailed the qualities that grow within us when Jesus lives in our hearts and the Holy Spirit increases our faith.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

That's what we see on display in The Andy Griffith Show and in residents of Mayberry, RFD, a glimpse into an imaginary place where these fruits of the Spirit shine through, in various situations and in all kinds of people. 

Credit Andy Griffith's influence again. When Griffith died in 2012, his widow told CBN, "Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord."

How do we bring Mayberry into our lives?

Sorry, y'all, but talking with a Southern drawl won't do it. 

It's true that you and I can't change the rest of the world. But we can decide our home will be a haven for our family and friends. A place where each one walks in the door and feels loved. A place where anxious, hurting hearts can find peace in being welcomed and accepted.

Isn't that what we want for ourselves?

This is not the impossible dream. No advance cleanup or home projects needed. We simply start right where we are. We ask Jesus to guide us and to fill our hearts and our home with love. Then we deliberately live out those Christian qualities we see acted out in Mayberry, RFD.

This probably won't feel natural for a lot of us. Smile and remember the saying, "Fake it 'til you make it," then keep going until it does.

And be patient, because a crop of kindness takes awhile to grow. Take it little by little, and with good humor. Laughs always lighten the atmosphere, especially when we're quick to laugh at our own mistakes and failures. (That makes it more likely our children will pick up that quality, too, rather than fall apart when they're not perfect.)

If we stick with it, life in our home will change and our kids won't have to look elsewhere to find grownups to emulate.

Are you ready to try it? 

Picture in your mind the kind of atmosphere you want in your home, as detailed as you want to make it. Write it down if you like, then use that as a checklist. This won't be an overnight change, so keep your patience charger at the ready. 

Start with this:

  • Pray. 
  • Forget past failures and lock in on what's ahead, then go for it.
  • Attitude counts most. Look for the best in people, expect the best of people--and forgive them when they mess up. (Your children will notice and naturally take on some of that themselves.)
  • Let go of tracking who's wrong and who's right. That takes too much time and effort--and winning almost always is a hollow victory. Use that energy to celebrate the wins.
  • Forgive yourself--and your family--on those days when nothing goes right.
  • Pray. Constantly.

Remember,  you're not in this alone

Whatever challenges we face, every believer can say with the Apostle Paul:

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Sorry, Andy Griffith and Aunt Bee won't move in down the street, but if you make small changes in yourself and how you relate to others, you will notice changes in how your life goes. So will your family and friends.

One ordinary day you'll look around and notice something new. As you look around your own small world you see some of the positive qualities you appreciate in what's portrayed by characters who live in Mayberry, RFD.

There's another bonus most of us haven't thought of. You will find what many others have discovered: You don't have to move in order to live in a new, happier place.

Still learning,

Lenore 


January 06, 2022

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