It’s Christmas Eve. I spent the morning with my 11 year old step daughter and twin 6 month old girls, while my mother was down stairs preparing for a feast. (Thankfully she can cook! If it were left up to me…well, there might not be much in the way of ‘Christmas Dinner’). Surrounded by all that blessing, I still felt a churning. Coupled with my own restlessness, was the inevitable shame of being ill content on this day while sitting in the midst of so many answered prayers. Shame always tells me my feelings are ridiculous and I should just get over it.
So, I PAUSED. I took an hour. One hour.
After getting quite with myself, I stumbled across the article below. Reminded that God is always speaking, I took the elder ladies message to heart. Happiness is a decision. It isn’t a fake smile with a bitter heart. It’s choosing to let the bitterness go, so that a genuine smile can happen. Happiness isn’t winning the fight, it’s a “cease fighting” and the realization that most of the things we fight about won’t matter in the end anyway. We have to ask ourselves the question, “how important is it?” Furthermore, we must, if we want to live any sort of a blessed life, decide that we can be happy regardless of what anyone else chooses.
In The Song Workshop at ONSITE, I sit with couples, groups, and individuals day in and day out. We examine the depths of our souls as we sing ourselves back home. What we almost always arrive at, is that, I am the only one who can do something about the way I feel. We dig through stories and histories and life choices, until we come to that moment, where the light shines through the hurt, and we realize, we have a choice to make. The choice is solely ours. There is no one else who can choose life for us. No one else can choose happiness for us. And, get ready for it, NO ONE ELSE CAN TAKE HAPPINESS FROM US!
This Christmas, this new year, and this next year this is my goal, to choose HAPPINESS! Just as the elder woman in the story said, “It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.” I send you love and wishes for the strength to CHOOSE the joy that this whole world is bubbling over with if we will only take a hold of it.
(Below is the story I read! Enjoy)
The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. “Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.” “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.” She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.” And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.