Yup. Blog post #3,879,295 on finding happiness in the present moment.
Honestly? I think I have read every single one of these posts. At least half of them. Ok more than I can count.
Because waiting for, anticipating, and dreaming about my future happiness, and then telling myself frustratedly, “be happy now!” has been a theme of my life. I wrote “if you can’t be happy now, you never will be” in my journal circa 2004. I got a third of the way into a book called Happiness Is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual and it made me feel sad. (Such is the lot of the melancholy soul.) I cut out the words, “God wants to make you happy” from an address given by Benedict XVI, and posted them up on my dorm room wall.
And then just now I caught myself imagining how perfect life will be when I live in my quaint little forever home, surrounded by my charming children and a garden. Will I ever learn?
And so I decided to write this millionth post on finding happiness in the present. No thesis statement, just thoughts.
We can be happy now. God is now. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house, and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20)
Finding happiness can require a decision. We have to decide to let God, and happiness, into our hearts. And this is possible anywhere, no matter our circumstances. But sometimes we need a little help. Here are my amateur tips:
- Ask God to make you happy. And start by spending time with Him. (Another quote I copied into my journal was, “Whenever I am sad, I ask God to turn me into a happy person.” I got this from a Honduran girl interview by Catholic Relief Services. Words from the wise.)
- Bring to mind all your blessings, from friendships to scented soap. Close your eyes, and soak ’em up.
- Sometimes I play “life soundtrack music” to get the I-have-an-awesome-life vibes going.
- Do something for someone else. Taking your mind off yourself and putting you energy towards helping another is a great antidote.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if you feel sad or sluggish more than feels normal. Blood tests can reveal a lot, and a mere chemical imbalance or thyroid issue is nothing to be ashamed of and can usually be helped with supplements. We were made to be happy!
And finally, when the painfulness of this vale of tears becomes too much, when the fear of the future gets me down, or just when the picture of my two-year-old niece laughing in her new polar bear sweater makes me cry with the strangest mixture of love, longing and pain, I remember: I was not made for this world. I was made for so much more.
For complete union with our God and our loved ones. For everything that is good about the scent of cardamom, the sound of Eva Cassidy singing Songbird, and the sight our mother’s smiles, all wrapped up into one being. For complete and unimaginable happiness. Forever.
“Then the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7)