Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Worry. Be Happy.

Ever since the founding of America, citizens of this country have been seeking happiness. The Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Yes, it seems we all seek happiness in our lives. On one of my recent treks, I thumbed through an in-flight magazine that had this on its cover: "Happiness. It's less elusive than you think. But you might be surprised where we found it." The entire magazine was filled with articles on the importance of happiness and how to achieve it. It even had a quiz for determining how happy you really are. Now there's an obvious relativity to this topic, of course. The guy sipping cognac in first-class must be happier than, say, me, who's finding a small triumph in having just outmaneuvered the person next to me for a piece of armrest.

Naturally curious, I read most of the articles and took the quiz to discover if I was happy. Answering the questions, I wondered just what constitutes being happy? And is it really possible to be happy all the time?

I came to the conclusion happiness is a moving target and that, really, each day is dependent on past events. If I sleep well and just got paid, I typically wake up happier than if I tossed and turned all night trying to figure out how to pay down the MasterCard with my Visa. Recalling a compliment at work makes moving five miles an hour on the highway easier (my mood's better; I'm happier) than seeing red lights everywhere and recounting a mistake somebody pointed out to me in a report.

And what about love? Doesn't being in love equal some sort of happiness? Aren't the two supposed to go together? One would think a long-term marriage would be the partnership of two basically happy people. I would think so too, but I know even that's not always the case. It seems then that asking ourselves if we're happy or not might not be as superficial and silly as it might sound.

Are you happy? I hope so.

I decided that on the whole I am happy with my life and the many blessings I enjoy. If it comes down to material things, I have enough. In fact, I have more than I even know what to do with. If it comes to love, I have my wife -- a beautiful woman who accepts me as I am -- warts and all. Happpiness: maybe it's not as elusive as we think it is. The longer I consider how much I have been blessed, I encounter a state of being happy that runs deeper than I thought. And with it, comes a thankfulness to God, which sweetens the happiness all the more.

I challenge you today: find something to be happy about. Anything. And then take three minutes out of your busy schedule to thank God for that thing.

You'll be glad (happy) you did.

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