“Three grand essentials to happiness in life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” ~ John Addison
It’s a common belief that bad things happen in threes, but I learned at a young age good things often come in threes. A couple of my cherished childhood Little Golden Books were, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “The Three Little Pigs.” My favorite English nursery rhyme was, “Three Blind Mice.” Then there was the Norwegian fairy tale, “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” As I got a little older, it was “The Three Stooges,” the three-ringed circus, three bean salad, the three minute egg, Neapolitan ice cream and my favorite candy bar, 3 Musketeer.
The number three is significant in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity which defines God as three divine persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Three Wise Men, who came to Jesus after his birth, brought three gifts. Jesus laid dead in the tomb for three days before his resurrection.
In the Western literary tradition, number three is important. Most follow a three act structure, introducing characters and concepts in Act 1, developing the plot through conflict in Act II, and bringing the conflict to a resolution in Act III. A writing principle called the Rule of Three suggests things that come in threes are funnier and more effective than other numbers.
Last week reinforced my belief that good things do happen in threes. As spring in Charlotte became more settled, I saw the first hummingbird of the season. She didn’t stick around long; probably passing through headed north. Soon the regulars who stay throughout the summer will attempt to stake their claim and the battle over the feeder will commence. Hummingbirds are very territorial and don’t enjoy sharing their sweet nectar.
Also last week, the dormant Bermuda grass on the golf course behind our house, came to life. Almost overnight, the lifeless brown grass that’s been present since October is now replaced by a lush emerald carpet. The bradford pears and cherry trees are in full bloom and the azaleas are getting ready to put on their show with a spectacular explosion of color.
Finally, last week I had a big surprise, I’m a runner-up in Southern Writers Magazine Fiction Short Story Contest. My story will be published in their special edition, Short Tales. This news confirmed that good or bad things can happen at any moment in my life. If I continue to actively seek out the positive, there is more evidence that great things do happen in threes.