Happiness

What is that anyway?  What does that word encompass?  If only I was shorter, taller, thinner, rich, younger, older, well educated, had a bigger house, etc. etc.  If I were just single again.  If ony I were married. The Rockefeller who became rich in the railroad business in the 19th century was asked “how rich is rich enough?”  His answer was “just a little bit more.”

“Pursuit of happiness” is in the constitution.  It’s our right !!  No, it’s our privilege.  But do we know it when we see it?  Do we know how to achieve it?  Have we the sense to hang onto it?

I love movies.  Most of my collection is comedies.  I have most of the the musicals too.  In South Pacific is the song Happy Talk.  So catchy.  So sweet.  Whatever mood I am in I have a movie to fit.  There’s a long list of movies I want to own, movies I saw years ago on The Late Show.   They make me smile and forget …. whatever is not making me happy.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot.  Let’s hope I haven’t been dead from the neck up for half a century!  I have regularly watched TVangelists.  Never got into Jimmy Swaggart, caught Roberston now and then, couldn’t stand the Crystal Cathedral guys!  Joyce Meyer has the best scripture food out there.  Spinach.  She shovels it in like you would feed a baby in a high chair.  Scrape the chin again and stick in the spoon.  She can slap you upside the head and it’s so logical, all you can say is “Thank you, Ma’am.  May I have another?”

Once upon a time in 1985 I was not happy.  First, let’s assume I loved and adored my husband and children.  But……nobody was coming through for me.  What did I have to do?  My life was ….. I don’t know.  We were on our way to the Black Hills and had stopped for an overnight at our friends’ cabin close to Alexandria.  I was not fun to be with.  I was taking every spare moment I had to think and calculate how I was going to arrange finding something new.  I wanted out.

Our Sunday school class is studying Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now simultaneously with Joyce Meyer’s Seven Things that Steal Your Joy.  Tom pointed out that Joel is saying the same thing over and over.  Like the song, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”  Joel’s saying that you trust God and expect His good things, expect high, and, and, ….. expect.  Fine.   But he does keep saying it over and over different ways.  So on the way home from church I thumbed through and saw Tom was right.  29 chapters later Joel gets to how.  And he says what I realized as truth in 3 seconds back in 1985.

That Sunday morning at the lake cabin, only one channel came in.  The TV preacher said it so simply ….. you decide to be happy.  Whatever your situation, assuming Jesus is in your heart and soul to support you in your decision, you can decide if you’re going to be happy, and decide if you’re going to accept it at face value.  I just stood there.

Sometimes we don’t figure out the simplest things by ourselves.  Think about it.  The world teaches us that our happiness is imputed onto us by our surroundings, other people, the right choices, wealth, health, education, the list goes on and on.  “Just a little bit more.” And when one moment wears off, run to the next one.  The responsibility for my happiness does not lie with anyone but me.

Decide.  You can choose to have a good attitude in the middle of a mess.  You can choose to smile through your tears.  Live today.  But expect better tomorrow or whenever.  Expect the best God has for you.   Osteen’s right.  He also says to wait patiently for it.  Joyce says anybody can wait grumpy, but it goes a lot better with an attitude of gratitude.  You pick.

The TV preacher that pierced me with that simple statement was the Crystal Cathedral guy’s son!  No, it did not make me a regular viewer nor a contributor.  I haven’t tuned into him since.  Don’t have to.  God knew where I’d be, and what I needed to hear.  There he was, syrupy sing song voice and insipid grin.  Thanks, What’s-your-name.  I needed that.

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