Monday, July 07, 2014

Understanding Happy

I never thought it would take me fifty-nine years to get it.

I thought I knew when I was eighteen and entered college. Free from my parents, I could make all my own decisions--including bad ones. Then I thought I understood when I was twenty-two, married my sweetheart and moved to a big city where I could capture my career. When my daughter was placed in my arms at aged twenty-nine, oh, then surely I understood. Motherhood would fulfill me. Another good career and finally God saw fit to put me in a ministry--my own bookstore. Yes, I thought I understood then. Travel, meeting authors, witnessing to others. And then writing. Oh yes. Happy. Happy times.

But I never truly understand  happiness in any of those big moments in my life.

You see, I had this concise plan for my life and as I aged, I checked off my list of accomplishments. Sure, I endured a few failures here and there. Who doesn't?

What I didn't understand about understanding true happiness, was I needed to experience the flip-side.

I'm not saying everyone should. I needed to because of the way I defined my life.

This morning as I look around our small rental and study the bare walls and the furniture bought at Goodwill, my heart expands with an overwhelming sense of joy. I'm still here. We're making it. And it's perfectly OK if it falls apart again.

Bad things happen. Bad things can go on for a long long time. I get that now. I get that more bad times are headed my way. But what I also get is I can survive even if the bad takes a long long time.

That's where my understanding of happiness comes from now, not from where it once did--possesions, friends, family, career.

No matter how many nightmares raise their ugly heads, no matter how bad my life might turn, God will carry me through. I finally get it.


Lynda R Young said...

I try to think of happiness and joy as two different things. That is, joy has a closer relationship with contentment through knowing God. But that's the way I personally define those words so I don't mistake happiness with joy... if that makes sense. But you are so right. True happiness can only be found through God because it's not reliant on worldly (temporary) sources.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Great post, Terri. Sometimes we have to wait for the miracles to happen. I can identify with so much of what you wrote. It comes down to the question of who is directing our lives-- us or God? And God can do it so much better.

Lin Floyd said...

life is a learning process and trials are a big part of that...

Susan said...

Hi Terri....

I think the bad times help us to appreciate the good times.

I also know, through life experiences, that the bad always pass. Even though more bad may be ahead, more good is, also! So I try to concentrate on the good.

Through it all, though, as you said, God is with us! Susan

BECKY said...

Terri, I could have almost written this post...with a few changes here and there! I've had so many ups and downs in my life, too, but the most recent "down" was a huge one, and similar to yours....moving, living with less "things," etc. It does feel great to be a survivor, doesn't it? Big hugs to you!