The little white cup, rimmed with a thin blue line, was purchased one summer day from an old, weathered antique store on the side of an isolated country road in southeastern Wisconsin. Written in gold on the back of the cup were the words "Souvenir of Luxemburg, Wisc."
Situated not far from Green Bay, home of the state's beloved NFL football team, the Packers, Luxemburg is on the lower half of the peninsula that tips with the quaint villages of Door County. At the time, I didn't know my geography well-enough to place the location, but I did know a find when I saw one.
Nestling the small cup in the palm of my hand, I studied the design on the front. Two little Dutch boys in wooden shoes and traditional garb pointed to a message bannered between them; a windmill faintly edged the canal in the background. Claiming a bit of Dutch heritage through my grandmother, a Vandivert, I was immediately drawn to the colorful drawing. It was the wise saying, however, that especially spoke to my heart.
In light script across the banner was a proverb written in the dialect of the Netherlands:
"It iss mutch better yet to shmile efen if it hurts your face."
Smiling in response, I immediately agreed with this bit of charming wisdom. So much so, it has guided my perspective a count beyond number over the years. There is a Bible verse I also love with a similar truth I have embraced, eloquent in the King James Version:
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Proverbs 17:22).
These are wise words, both those printed on my little cup and those in the Bible. I strive to live my life accordingly, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.
Perhaps I could pen a companion proverb to sum up my efforts:
"It iss mutch better yet to try efen if I fail."