I have been thinking a lot about things like happiness and joy and delight lately. Probably because it seems like happiness and joy are in short supply these days.
These months (soon to be years) of living through a pandemic have been challenging. Sometimes incredibly challenging. Many of us are feeling so very weary. All of the changes and adjustments and modifications and whatnots have been hard on us. Our lives have changed and changed again and again and yet again. The new normal never seems to stay the same for very long. All of this change can be overwhelming.
Some folks are more than weary. Some are just plain exhausted. (I hear these feelings are called “change fatigue.” That seemed like a very polite way of putting it.)
Others are angry. Some seem to be furious. Others are outraged.
Grief and frustration and pain abound. But happiness and joy seem to be unfortunately scarce these days.
And yet – it is happiness and joy I have been pondering and seeking and contemplating. Happiness and joy have been on my radar and have been my focus.
I don’t want to demand joy or happiness when folks are feeling neither joyful nor happy. I don’t want to try to force emotions upon anyone. (Not even myself.) But I do think we can seek the good in challenging times. And happiness in the hard. And beauty in imperfection. And light in the darkness. (Or maybe we can find beauty in the darkness itself?)
I do think we can (should) seek the lovely in life even when life is bringing us low.
As I have thought about seeking joy and beauty and delight and happiness – I have spent time thinking about the happiest people I know.
You know those people I am thinking of. The joy bringers! Those folks who make the world a better place simply by being here with us. The people you are drawn to again and again because they are themselves.
You finish a conversation with these folks with a smile on your face (and in your soul). You leave them feeling lighter and less burdened. These people are a delight to know and to share this planet with.
It occurred to me the happiest people I know don’t have easy – breezy lives. Their lives aren’t smooth sailing and never have been. Their don’t live lives without pain and heartbreak and grief. Their lives have plenty of all that makes us so very human. And yet – they are happy – joyful even.
What makes these folks different is they are able to see the beauty and the good in life – even when life is hard. They are able to find blessings – even in the midst of challenges. Sometimes incredibly difficult challenges!
Yes – they see and experience the negative and the pain and the bad and the ugly. (They are human.) But they don’t dwell there. But they don’t constantly point to the negative in the way some folks always seem to do. They shift their focus from the negative to the positive.
They don’t let themselves get stuck in the mess and the mire of life.
They don’t “navel gaze” as my seminary professor used to call it!
They focus on what they DO have. Rather than on what they don’t have.
They see and give thanks for their blessings.
I have been thinking a lot about happiness and joy and delight because . . .
Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and our beloved commonwealth has turned red again . . . World peace feels more distant than ever . . . Nature is both beautiful and shockingly turbulent . . . Our world is complicated and so are the people who live here . . .
So I am looking for beauty in the broken. I am looking for God’s presence in the messy messes. I am looking for joy in the jagged. I am looking for silver linings and rainbows.
I am keeping my eyes and my heart open. I am seeking and searching. I delighting and sometimes I am even dazzled.
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be blessed or beautiful. Life doesn’t have to be flawless to be happy or good or rich. Life doesn’t have to be ideal to be sweet or delightful.
I think when we wait for perfection – we miss out on the greatest blessings of all. We miss out on the present. We miss out on the here and now. So I am trying to appreciate this moment. This time in my life. These days I am living. The blessings of today.
What are some of the blessings you are experiencing in your life right this very moment? Where do you see God in your life today? What makes your life good and rich – even though your life isn’t perfectly perfect?
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –