It’s difficult to feel happy all the time, unless you’re descended from a long line of pollyannas. Happiness can be elusive. It’s a feeling that can come and go without warning. It’s different from joy which is deep-seated, no matter what else is happening to us.
What is Joy?
In no particular order, except that our lives go much better if we put our Creator first:
- Joy is knowing God and His Son, our Savior, both love us.
- Joy is singing the hymns of our religion, even belting them out if that is or should be the tradition.
- Joy is knowing our families can be together forever, if we take the steps to make that happen.
- Joy is hearing from someone else that our kids have turned and are on the right path again instead of the path to destruction.
- Joy is having a long-lost, much loved pet returned in good shape to its place in the family fold.
- Joy is having a long-suffering spouse or parent released to a more wonderful place after decades of pain, loneliness and depression.
What is Happiness?
Happiness? That’s a little trickier to feel, especially when grief has hit us hard. Happiness can fly out of our lives as fast as it came in and we may need to take a step back now and then to see if we need to re-evaluate our situation.
We should never discount the impact of sorrow because it will shape our lives forever. Everyone will mourn in one way or another, either now or in the future. But unless we let them, no one else can take our happiness away from us for very long.
For today, do we have plain food to eat, aging clothing to wear, perhaps a leaky roof over our heads and an old car to drive? Then we should be feeling grateful as well as happy. There will always be those who have much more, even when they frequently don’t deserve it, and those who have much less, even when they obviously deserve more of the comforts of life.
If we’re not grateful for our blessings, for what we’ve received through our God-given talents and/or the immense kindness of other people, then it can all be whisked away. If we’re grateful and show it, then more blessings will be added.
Happiness means different things to different people, of course. Some examples are:
- Happiness is being able to live the gentler life we want to live, instead of the life certain other people try to force on us.
- Happiness is not having to set the alarm for the next day.
- Happiness is remembering where we stashed the good chocolate.
- Happiness is having a friend we can trust.
- Happiness is having great co-workers.
- Happiness is belonging to a supportive writer’s group.
- Happiness is having books to read.
- Happiness is taking a nap when your baby does.
Happiness has many sources and it does begin with us. If silly, stupid or mean events wreck it for an hour, a day, or a month, we need to replace our thoughts with something else…happy thoughts, happy songs, happy talk.
Even when tragic happenings rock us back on our heels and we slide to the floor in despair, we have the power to get up again, perhaps with professional help. We can expect anger and grief to take a long time to work through, but pinpoints of light along the way, from others dealing with the same issues, will help us find the right road again. And if we need to replace a bad situation to save our sanity and even our lives, then we seek help from those who can enable our escape. No one can take our happiness away from us forever.