THE WORLD isn’t the same as it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago. I was born in 1968 so I clearly remember being a child in the ’70s, a teen in the ’80’s, an adult and mother in the ’90s, and watched the ball drop for the year 2000. This is a better world today, I think. I see people are more real, more open, more human. (more…)
I know it’s an odd question because happiness has a definition, albeit subjective. That’s the point of this writing: I’d like to ask you if you really do know what happiness feels like or have you forgotten?
Often in our daily lives we are living for the day, getting by, trying to do what we feel we’re supposed to, while oft neglecting ourselves and personal happiness. This is not to say that our personal happiness trumps that of everyone else in our lives, but it is indicative of whether or not we know how to take care of ourselves, to meet our own needs as well as those of others we care for. Are you happy right now or are there areas of your life that bring you down, cause you to feel melancholy, or otherwise leave you wanting something more, something that you can’t define?
Happiness, most of us agree, is a state of mind. Happiness isn’t always a material thing or a state of existence: it is a state of mind and nothing more. Why would it be anything more than a state of mind? Happiness is something tangible, conceivable, and more importantly, it is something attainable no matter what your present physical state of being is.
What is your journey, my friends? Every day, every moment including those in slumber, we’re on a path. Little ups and downs of life are nothing more than undulating, gentle roads we travel. Where are you going? I don’t think it matters much. Take each step knowing you’re moving forward, always forward. When there’s a fork in the road and you’ve to make a choice, be confident: you’re moving in the right direction.
The path we are on is different for all of us though we may intersect at different points. Perhaps we will walk parallel paths, perhaps we will meet at intersecting points. The reality is the path is not difficult nor is it too steep to travel. Truly, there are sections of the path that are a little steeper, a little more challenging to navigate than other sections but we know if we keep moving forward we will encounter sections that are easy to walk. Be grateful for even those more complicated areas of your journey: the challenges are not there to obstruct, they are there to teach you patience, persistence, perseverance, and effort.
If the path is too easy to venture we become sedentary and when we meet the challenging sections we may wish to give up. Never give up, never dwell on those difficult walks: you’ll emerge stronger, more confident, and the next challenging area won’t seem so and you’ll be pleased with yourself when you realize you know exactly where you are going. Just know there’s nothing so difficult that it will not pass and be soon behind you. We cling to that and it’s a happy thought when the days are long and the nights are filled with worry. We don’t dwell on that either, we let it go so we can rest knowing everything is going to be alright.
I thank you for always watching over me. Thank you for letting me live my life and make my choices and surrounding me with friends who love and support me: they are my angels in this place. I know with you I am never alone but you send people to comfort and soothe me anyway. Thank you for my health and that of my children and family. Thank you for my father who is now with you and for my mother who is still with me; my parents did the best they could at all times and if not for my sweet mother, I would not be who I am and would be lost in this world. Thank you for the gift of sound and present mind: it has served me well.
Thank you for my obsessive 17 year old who is again telling me how he’s going to manage his work and college schedule, even making time for going to the gym in between, and even deleting his list of female friends who are “a distraction.”. Thank you for giving him presence of mind to not buy video games and instead he bought a sack full of school supplies, packed his back pack, is taking notes already for classes he’s not even attended, and buying school clothes. He’s a good kid — thank you for him and my two youngest who are looking up to and modeling after him while he mentors them. My sons are kind to others, good to each other, good to me, and will make fine, respectful, good husbands, and excellent fathers one day.
Thank you, God, for all the opportunities to learn and analyze myself and the world around me including the people in it. Thank you for helping me through the years by staying close to me like you promised you would: you do not break your promises, and every rainbow I see reminds me of you. Thank you for the insects and creatures that you send to me for my pleasure and to deliver messages. Thank you, God, for the gifts you gave me and for showing me how to use them to help others and myself. For everything you do for me, I remember to honor you.
I remember that in this life nothing really matters. No material thing can replace you and what one sacrifice for me secured for all eternity and everyone in it. You never turn your back on your children, always wait for them even until Judgement Day, and I never fear because I never forget who you are and that I belong to you. Your love for me reminds me to love my children, family, and friends, no matter who they are. Your mercy for me reminds me to be merciful but you also admonish not to waste myself on anything that is not worthy of you. You teach me to shun the things that would not be acceptable to you if you were to sit with me at any time — which you do — you are with me and all of us at all times and I remember to live according to what honors you and avoid the things that are damaging to the Spirit.
Not one thing escapes you, God, and that is something I know. You know me, my thoughts, my words, my actions, and the condition of my heart. When I cry and ask what bad thing I have done to deserve any suffering, I know I cause you to suffer knowing I have done and do no such thing to deserve any suffering at all. You sent your Son to come suffer and die for all eternity giving even Him free will to choose. For even thinking a moment that I deserve any less than you want for me is taking away from the Ultimate Sacrifice that was precious Christ Jesus. For that I beg forgiveness, it stings my eyes that I looked to the cross and asked what I had done, because I realize that I did no such thing but honor you.
You blessed me with peace and calm amid the knowing that I was in peril in the world in places and conditions where I was not asked to beg, suffer, or bring Salvation to another. Each person chooses with the free will you gave us all and I am not responsible for the choice of others who do not follow you as you asked. We are taught to reflect you, not to be you. You asked us all to follow you and that you placed in our hearts from the moment we were created. That we suffer for those who do not follow you is part of the human condition you gave us as a gift. You ask that we pray for others but in the end free will is theirs and so is the last day: Judgement. I can rest knowing my conscience is clean, my mind is at peace, and that you are always in my heart.
I do not ask for a thing for myself: I have all I need and you always provide for me and mine. There are things like a fairy tale, a picket fence, love for another and love reciprocated, grandchildren, a large, happy family, and many precious family moments, that I want and need so badly. But I know that so long as I live walking in faith, trusting you, reflecting you, and honoring you, even those things will come. I will ask that you never let me stray far from you even if you must place the Great Wall of China in my face or tie me to a boulder. You know me, God, and I do the right thing even when no one is watching: I know you are, you know all, see all, and can even read my thoughts. Thank you, God, for being there for me, as you promised, and never, ever letting me go. Amen.
I pray for myself, openly, and pray for every other person connected to me in any way. Regardless of what anyone believes, there is something much greater than ourselves and the only detriment and risk is selfishness. Anything I have I would give to another before taking it for myself. My peace and blessings I give to you all not only because you know I do, but also because God’s love is so infinite, His blessings so many, that there is a never ending supply of all of it. I wish you well, I wish you every blessing imaginable, and above all I pray that you are always safe, sound, at peace, and loved!
Always remember when a thought comes to you, or you are prompted to take an action that would not be acceptable to God, it does not come from God: you know where that comes from. We always have a choice to listen to Him or to the other: you know the difference. Be mindful and do nothing that would offend the Spirit, do not allow an image, a thought, an action, or anything that you know is bad, wrong, immoral, sinful, or cruel, into your mind, body, life, and soul. You know the difference: act always as if God is sitting with you at all times — He is.