By Brenda Black
The fictitious setting of Mayberry, made famous by Andy Griffith, became America's icon for community. Simpler times and Aunt Bea's recipes made Mayberry home sweet home for five decades and still counting. Sincere and quirky characters helped the rest of us feel more normal. Most of all, Mayberry made us feel safe. The doors were never locked, Sheriff Andy didn't carry a gun and Deputy Fife couldn't shoot the one he owned. Andy Griffith helped perpetuate Mayberry's nostalgic image for eight years in black and white. The legacy lives on today through the magic of media, while we bid the beloved star good bye. Griffith died Tuesday, July 3, 86 years young.
I grew up on Mayberry and I can whistle the theme song. I know all of the characters and still giggle at the reruns. I've reached the age to finally fit the affectionate name -- “Aunt B”-- that my nieces and nephews gave me back in my 20's. I'm still a fan of the simpler things in life and enjoy a little front porch picking and singing or company stopping by. And I am blessed to have friends that are more like family, similar to those in that little North Carolina town. It's just a Mayberry mindset that color TV, busy lives nor time can erase. As fast as the world whizzes by these days, a slow trip back to Mayberry is good medicine for what ails ya.
Mayberry is more than just a pretend place wherein reside fictitious characters who never age. Mayberry is a state of consciousness, a heavenly perspective, that can exist anywhere. So how do we go about Mayberry blessing the world around us?
I try to live more simply, and do more with what I have. I extend more hospitality and open my door and my heart to those who need family or a place to just hang out. I sing louder in church and I'm quicker to laugh as my years go racing by. And why not! I go fishing or ride a horse when my sons ask. I say the Pledge of Allegiance with gusto! Sometimes, in Aunt Bea fashion, I wear an apron and bake something filled with flour and sugar and love. What I'm really saying is I try to live in such a way that expresses joy in all its many forms.
There is no perfect place, but I can impact this imperfect world with something better. Even Mayberry had its trials and tribulations. In real life, Andy Griffith suffered some pretty hard reality – two divorces and a son who died much too early. But he also found Christ and worshiped while he lived and died knowing Him as Savior. He left that comforting reassurance with his family.
"Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord," Griffith's wife, Cindi, said in a statement released to the press. "He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God's Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God."
Wherever you live in this fallen and very real world, you can experience Mayberry blessings, as long as you know the Lord who is Holy and Perfect. Christ dwells in the hearts of men that they might know peace in the midst of imperfection. He resides where He is welcome and worshiped. Then He leaves it up to us to share what we know of this joyous and loving Christ with those in our household and community.
“At that hour of the night the jailer took them [Paul and Silas] and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and the whole family was filled with joy, because they had come to believe in God.” (Acts 16:33-34)
Do you remember what first got the jailer's attention? Paul and Silas were praying and singing! They were Mayberry blessing a dungeon. If that doesn't stoke your fire, you're wood's all wet! Sometimes all it takes to brighten the world is a little bit of something godly good. In honor of Andy, go be a Mayberry Blessing.
copyright 2012 The Word's Out - Brenda Black