Saturday, March 17, 2012


I've been trying to be happy.  Really, I have.  OK, sometimes I feel more like that country song and "I just wanna be mad for a while."  I woke up like that this morning.  But MOST OF THE TIME, I've been trying really hard to be happy.  I have discovered (drumroll please) being happy is hard work.  And I've also figured out that when I'm not feeling happy, trying to feel happy makes me feel less happy.  I just feel grumpy that I'm not happy, and guilty that I'm not doing better.

There's a quote that I like about chasing happy.  I thought it was talking about the bluebird of happiness, but it turns out it was a butterfly.  And people disagree as to whether it was Thoreau or Nathaniel Hawthorne who said it.  I'll vote for ol' Nate:

“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” 
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thoughts immediately come to mind.  Like: Underneath the beautiful wings, isn't the butterfly really just a bug?  Do I want a crawly bug landing on me?  And: Really?  We don't have to do any work at all?  Just sit down and eat bon bons and you'll find happiness?  But then again: If I am always scurrying about, frantically trying to be happy, it won't work.  I have to be quiet INSIDE (not necessarily outside) in order to find the happy peace and joy I crave.  

I was struggling through this in church recently when a single word came to mind.  It didn't pop in, it kind of did a gentle fade-in, like in Alice in Wonderland where the Cheshire cat just shimmers and slowly appears.  

/kuhn - tent'/ satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

I have so much already.  Do I really need to go out hunting for more happiness?  Just look around you, girl!  Isn't this about what you've always wanted?  Uh... yeah, it is.  So then why the doldrums?  As I thought more about this, and wrote the word in big, block letters in my notebook, I had another fade-in, but it was the same word:

/kon' - tent/ something that is contained (the contents of a box), or substantive information or creative material to be expressed through some medium, of significance or profundity, (a clever play that lacked content).

So wait.  In order to feel CONTENT (definition 1), I have to make sure that I have good CONTENT (definition 2).  I need to make sure that I am taking care of things that need taking care of.  I need to love my kids and mind that housework.  Keep the laundry up and nourish little minds and tummies.  Be sweet to my sweetheart.  Do my chores before I play.

I'm not discouraged - I'm encouraged.  I don't need to have everything done Pinterest-ly perfect.  I just have to keep on keeping on, and work on making MY content worth being content about.  With the Lord's help, this is something I can do.

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