Make it good

Sunrise First Light, Last Lights

Image by cobalt123 via Flickr

“Macht gut” is something my Grandma used to say. It roughly translates to “make it good” or “makes good”. The true meaning of this phrase, though, is profound advice for life. Basically you only have one shot at this life, so you might as well make it a good one. The concept of ‘makes good’ is also there too; you take your life, the world around you, and you make it better. You make it nice for people. You help when you can (even if butting out is the best thing you can do).

This phrase also teaches without telling. She rarely told me what to do to “Macht gut”. It was implied that I already knew what ‘good’ was and all I had to do was do it. How true is that. Most people could easily sit down and write out a long list of things that would help them live better, happier lives, but how often do we follow through? Things like ‘drink more water’, ‘eat more vegetables’, ‘exercise’, ‘forgive’, ‘spend more time with my children’, ‘use less throw away containers’, the list goes on.

Where to start? If you start, how do you keep it going past the first week? When you apply the “Macht gut” principle, then it all gets pretty easy.

You can filter the list of things that would improve your life by asking yourself: “Does this new behaviour, make it good, for me, for others, for the world?”. You get a quick sense that some items are better than others and will make a bigger impact. The ‘goodness’ part of you knows that small little changes, done every day add up to a big, great, wonderful life.

It really is the small things that make  the difference. Taking time to listen. Taking time to play. Taking time to share a few laughs and a few tears. Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’; they are so basic. These small things add up. People hold these little things in their heart for years. Ultimately, these little kindnesses are very big, important things. Those little things are the foundation of friendship, of marriage, of love; without them we wither just like untended house plants.

There is another aspect to this phrase that a bit of Googling taught me, but what my understanding always knew. “Macht’s gut” means ‘Take care’ or ‘So long’. It means travel well, get home safe, call me when you get there. It is also a request to care for yourself as much as you are cared for by the person. Take care of yourself because you mean the world to me. Be good to yourself.
I miss her.
But her words and wisdom live on; and now I get to share them with you.

So, macht gut!

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