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Some time ago I shared with readers a story my friend Glen Cochrane told me. Over the last few weeks I have been reminded of this story in my own circumstances and I thought it might help some of you to read it again as well. As a part of a funeral service for an elderly lady my friend attended, one of her granddaughters shared some memories of her grandmother. She told of how every morning, her grandmother would stand at the kitchen sink and look out the window above. As she looked outside she would say, “There has never been a bluer sky.”

It didn’t matter if it was sunny, overcast or pouring rain. Her grandmother would say, “There has never been a bluer sky.”

This story has really stuck with me. When you travel by plane you know that, even if it is a miserable day on the ground, at some point the plane will break through the clouds and there will be a startlingly blue sky waiting. You might experience a bit of turbulence, a few bumps and several shudders as you pass through the clouds but when you are through, there it is – a brilliant blue sky.

I wish I had had an opportunity to meet that old lady. What a wise person she was and how wonderful that she diligently, and no doubt deliberately, sought to pass her wisdom on to her grandchildren. It doesn’t matter how grey and gloomy the day looks from where we stand, or how bumpy and uncomfortable the journey might be from our perspective. Above it all, there has never been a bluer sky.

That grandmother sought to instil a sense of hope, purpose, optimism and resilience into her grandchildren by demonstrating a daily discipline or habit. Habits are things we do repeatedly until they become almost subconsciously part of our lives. Habits become virtues when we no longer have to think about them at all – they just are the way we are. By reminding herself daily, and reminding those within hearing distance, she was building a habit which might become a virtue.

It is easy to let circumstances – the cloud cover and the turbulence of life – become overwhelming. What a wonderful habit to build into our own lives, and the lives of our children, that above it all, there has never been a bluer sky.