I kept hearing about this book called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, so I decided to pick it up. It’s for generally happy people who just want to maximize life. Rubin realized that “the days are long, but the years are short. Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.”
But my problem is that I focus way too much on the things that really matter. I feel like we all live in political Crazytown and it’s not pleasant. My heart is heavy because so many of my friends are carrying a serious burden or two right now. And a dear friend in India has a kidney stone (and believe me, a kidney stone feels like this picture except with jagged edges) and my son has dental issues and one of my mentors is dying. How can I be happy? Aristotle said, “To perceive is to suffer.”
But speaking of India, my friends who live there wonder how anyone in the US could be UN-happy! We have electricity and running water in our homes and western toilets. And toilet paper. We have very little to complain about.
So here’s my brilliant analysis. “Happiness” is a dumb word.
It’s so subjective.
But maybe some of you understand Rubin’s point, which is to take charge of your happiness rather than grousing. One of her twelve commandments is to “act the way you want to feel” and to a large degree, it works. And maybe some of you have read my friend Debi Simons’ book called “Intentional Happiness” and it’s turned your life around. And maybe some of you are just genetically happy-go-lucky. (I’m so jealous.) And maybe some of you have mastered the art of giving your burdens to God.
To me, that last sentence is key. If we REALLY believe God’s working on those burdens and kidney stones, we live in hope. We watch for the answers. It’s a stance. It’s a stance that turns despair into an adventure of sorts. George Muller said, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.”
So although few of us naturally live in Happytown 24/7, we can, as they say in India, do the needful. For me, that’s about getting my soul to that sweet spot of trust every day.
And that makes me happy.