Things have been somewhat overwhelming recently. Work is nuts with 2 rounds of layoffs sweeping through in less than 6 months. My personal life is a mass of activities. My budget is rockin’ while my debt snowball is rollin’. My house is slowly having more things done to it which make it that much more like a home to me. And through all this madness, I’ve barely blogged except for the other day when I just felt the need to vent a little. I guess you could say it was a little verbal processing run amok.
Sidebar: I just was distracted by watching Chena bury some item of great value (at least to her) in the folds of a towel on the floor. But it’s cool, she’s a dog. It’s what she does. Still, kinda funny.
Anyway, despite my little online explosion the other day, I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m really doing pretty well – this especially for those of you who don’t see me all that often and might not know what to think when I don’t post for weeks and then suddenly come out with a message like I did on Monday.
But I’m good. I’m busy, I’m happy, I love my dog, I’m healthy, I have hardwood floors, I have a new patio door, I’m getting a new patio to go with it next week, and I’m employed. I’ve been thinking it over the past couple of days and decided that, despite any guy thing (or lack thereof) I’m not about to be bullied by happiness.
I should probably explain that last statement.
Dave Ramsey says in one of our FPU lessons (and he may have been quoting someone else, I don’t know) that if you’re not careful, happiness can become a “bully in a schoolyard”. Always drawing a line in the sand, but as soon as you step over that line – as soon as you obtain what you’re after – it moves. But happiness is not really the greener grass on the other side of the fence. Happiness is where you are right now, regardless of incidentals.
I think I started to learn this lesson somewhat when I was in England. I was frustrated with being in the UK – especially being so far out in the middle of nowhere. But I also knew that it was a good time in my life…something I would look back on and appreciate – although there were many times when I couldn’t wait to be “looking back” on it instead of living it! Still, I knew that this was the case, so I made a concerted effort to find things that I loved and appreciated about Leamington, Warwickshire, and the UK in general. Even now, I think back on that time and remember fondly my fabulous flat on Clarendon Square, the amazing Irish butter, Muellers Crumble Corners, riding my bike to work, walking everywhere, taking weekend trips into Europe, being so close to Stratford that I had a membership with the Royal Shakespeare Company at a “locals” rate… I could go on and on. So despite the fact that it was rough year (and I know I complained a lot), I still could appreciate it and still do. So much so that I’d go back for the right opportunity.
That whole concept of completing the phrase, “Happiness is [fill in the blank]” is really kinda difficult to do. Happiness is…uh…what? How can you define happiness if it’s a moving target? And there’s the rub.
Happiness isn’t that thing just out of reach. It’s not the marriage and kids you don’t have. It’s not the job you wished you’d gotten. It’s not the car you drive (or wish you drove). Neither is happiness a particular thing that happens once or many times over. Happiness is now. Happiness just IS.
If we don’t stop tying our happiness to the having or attaining of specific things, we’ll always be bullied by it and we’ll never find true contentment.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that sure, I’m missing some stuff from my life that I’d like to have, but ultimately, those missing items don’t necessarily detract from my ability to still see and enjoy and love and find happiness in where I am right now.
Paul said it like this in Philippians 4:11 – “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
Rock on Paul. That’s what I’m talking about.