Yesterday morning, birds patiently took turns at the feeder. Signs of Spring sprouted up through the snow-covered ground, reaching for the sun. I experienced feeling “happy” as I watched them.
Unlike dessert or a perfectly aged cabernet, happiness is life-giving water needed for optimal survival. But, for many, bliss seems unattainable.
Perhaps you think, “How dare I laugh when our planet is crying?” Does it seem almost vulgar to you to talk about the good, despite all the “bad?” Does happiness seem sacrilegious? If you reside in a place of almost continual joy, you may feel like a unicorn hearing, “how are you so happy with all the tragedy that exists?”
We need to “flip that switch.” Joy and optimism may not eradicate pain and sorrow, but they can change energy. Wholehearted seeking—not simply a perfunctory glance down a solitary, dismissed road—is a crucial part of the journey to happiness.
A Short Tale:
Two of my dear friends are Dave & Carol. Dave’s an artist and an avid creator of three-dimensional art. While constructing one of his pieces, he had a table saw mishap and ran into the kitchen, telling Carol, “I cut my fingers off! (nothing more graphic needs to be shared). But here’s the significant part of this story: Dave’s sense of humor—even from the first time I saw him post-calamity—has stayed intact. He chooses happiness over and over.
Like some of you, I’ve experienced pain, making screeching stops at entries of wide-open doors inviting me to run through, not believing they were there for me. I’m better at running through open doors now, but I still occasionally carry my heavy satchel of sorrow, choosing emotional self-flagellation. (I’m a work in progress!)
Sometimes, I’ve shared heartbreak and felt the kinship of others also willing to share and unburden. But mostly, I’ve kept sorrow hidden from the light. I’ve overanalyzed and sought “reasons” instead of moving out of the past and into happiness. Because of my evolving awareness, my trust has grown exponentially. There are still times when I’m hurt or feel like I’m “bleeding out,” but my soul always knows my value. I can’t always lobotomize pain, but I can choose happiness.
I often think of the homelessness and hunger stymieing life for so many, aware that those sorrows will likely always exist on our planet. I cry for those in Ukraine and the women in North Korea. I pray for the lonely and the marginalized. My list is extensive. We can (and should) do what we can to help those in need. But, to do that, we need to create glorious “happy nests”—spaces inside ourselves where we continually seek honest joy instead of constrained fish-bowl happiness?
How frequently is honest and unadulterated joy part of your reality? If not often, make that a priority (or reach out to me to talk about it).
And, what about Dave and Carol? Dave is actively creating again (with a new table saw), and Carol is still leading fund-raising initiatives and being the beautiful, intelligent human, she is. And, they bless me by being part of my life.
May today bring you joy, may it remind you of how precious life (and fingers) are, and may you feel God’s love shining down on you.
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