The topic for my memoir writing journey yesterday was, “Write about the last time you were happy… really happy.” That topic suddenly felt huge and unmanageable to me. What truly defines “happy?” Is it referring to a moment or a longer period of time in life? What is happy?
Happy: marked by good fortune, enjoying or showing or marked by joy or pleasure
This is what I wrote yesterday.
I was happy to see the sun shining this morning, and as I write, I am sitting in the bay window in the sun! That makes me happy. Yesterday I was happy because my husband and I devoted the whole day to just be together and the day had a perfect ending! I’m happy that it’s spring vacation! No work this week… just a happy thing!
The question says the last time I was really happy, which makes me think it should be a span of time, like a month or a year. Anytime that my husband and I are in that truly connected place and living in that peaceful harmony, really thinking about the other over ourselves … I’m happy. When he comes up behind me in the kitchen and nuzzles in my neck or slaps my behind and says, “Tag! You’re it!” That is my “happy!” Yesterday we were running to Home Depot and I did not want to put make-up on. He told me that I didn’t need make-up because I was pretty without it… happy!
In my old camp counseling days, our director Miss Kay, used to ask us every staff training, “Is fun a goal or a by-product?” Insert happiness. Is happiness a goal or a by-product? Do we set out to be happy or does it happen because of what we are doing? What really makes one happy? For me it is about the little things that happen along the way rather than a big span of time. Life is hard and things happen that derail our happiness in an instant – sickness, a death, a phone call, a situation at work, a fight with a loved one, one unkind word, financial issues, the loss of a job. I’m sure you can add to that list. If we let these things knock us off of our happy track, we will be sitting derailed most of the time. For me, it’s the small things that keep me going.
Again, I struggle with how to even define “happy.” No matter what is going on around me, I’ve one beautiful gift in my life to bring me through those moments that don’t fit into the world of happy. He is my precious Savior and He died so that I might live… and enjoy those moments of happy.
After writing about happiness all morning; feeling light and “happy,” it was time to prepare our taxes! We spent all day working on them, finding all the small details to add to get our best return. That green number in the corner of our Turbo Tax was making us happy, happy, happy! We were counting that little tax cushion to add back to our finances. It’s been a tough year financially. We decided that after we printed off the last of the documents we would take a walk in the sunshine down to our local Mexican restaurant and celebrate! Our last item to add in was the sale of a second home that belonged to my husband. When it sold, it was a glorious thing! Such a burden lifted off of us. Now that was a happy moment! I carefully added in the numbers and dates. In that moment, our “happiness” plunged like a deep sea diver. We were completely knocked off of our happy track. Our lovely green number in the corner became red. Our hearts sank. We quickly began to reread each category to make sure we had the correct numbers inserted. Snap, our happiness gone in an instant. What will we do now? There will be nothing to build back up our savings.
Do you see that the world’s definition of happiness can be gone in an instant? We watched that happen to two families a week ago. Another reality check for me. So what really defines my happiness? Money and the “security” it brings? It sure felt like it in that moment as my heart sank into my stomach. Suddenly, we had nothing… or it felt that way. We decided to take that walk, minus the Mexican celebration. We walked around our neighborhood oooing and awing over the daffodils that were in bloom and the green beginning to pop up around us. We were grateful that our taxes were done and now we could focus on other things for the rest of the week. We prayed for God to continue providing for us and that we would be good stewards of the money we did have. We prayed for Brian to find a job in the midst of this difficult time. We thanked God for all that we have and are blessed with everyday… our health, our family, our forever home. We had to take ourselves from the world’s view of happiness and live in the happiness that comes from trusting God with our lives every day.
I awoke early today with the worry feeling in my tummy. I got my coffee, sat in the sunshine that was attempting to shine through the clouds, and opened up my Jesus Calling devotional. Today’s reading was titled In Me You Have Everything…