Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happiness (which is different from joy)

       I am happy today.  Really, truly happy today.  I know that we are like a train on two tracks - one that is full of blessings and joy and the other which is full of challenges and "learning opportunities".  For the last three years, my "learning opportunities" have far outweighed the happy times.  But today I am not only filled with God's joy (which can come even when we are sad), but also with happiness. And it scares me.
      I find it very hard to "trust" happiness because it is fleeting.  It is a fickle friend.  And as such, it cannot be relied upon to stay for long, or to return when summoned, or to come when needed. Sometimes it is there constantly, every day making repeated calls, sending constant "texts" and stopping by to visit and stay.  And then, just as suddenly as it came, it can disappear and stay away for weeks at a time, not responding to calls for help, no matter how desperate and needy they are. When it comes it is incredible and wonderful and we find ourselves hoping that it will stay as constant, as helpful, as faithful, as hopeful, and as intense as it sometimes is, filling us with a sense of well-being and of being loved, causing us to laugh and play and feel young and alive.  But it never does.  It comes and goes of its own accord, when and where it will, and therefore truly can't be trusted.
      Most of us don't like friends that can't be trusted.  We don't invest in friends who can't be depended on to stick around, to be there when needed or to respond when called upon.  We can't waste our love and commitments on those who come and go on a whim without any warning at all.  So how do we relate to happiness?  Is it possible to simply appreciate the time one has with this friend called happiness, without resenting it when it goes?  Is it possible to enjoy the times when happiness makes a visit, without looking for and fearing the next time it will leave?  I don't know.  But I think that is the goal of living in the present...staying with happiness when it comes without fear of tomorrow, facing the challenges of the day without worrying about when we might next encounter happiness again, being at peace with whatever feelings we awaken to each day, and embracing whatever life offers us today with hope, welcome and trust that it will be what we will need that day, even if it is not that most favorite of friends called happiness.