Happy: (adj.) characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy.
I suppose it would be selfish to expect to be happy all the time. I think, in our fallen human nature, we do expect that, or at least we want that, but, really, if we were constantly happy on this earth, would we appreciate it as much? If we didn’t have moments from ennui to utter sadness, would our happy moments be as sweet? I don’t think so. I have been challenged to list ten things that make me happy. I’m not going to name people, as that would be too easy. I’m going to name moments or experiences. At least, that’s what I expect to do. Let’s see how it turns out:
1. Waking up first thing in the morning, going into my kitchen, and making my first coffee of the day. It’s a ritual that I have grown to enjoy and hate to miss. I take the latte, climb onto my couch, pull my fur throw over myself, and read in the quiet before everyone else gets up.
2. Reading a book and discovering that the person who wrote the book, even though their life may be completely different/fancier/more tragic, and I have so many similar thoughts about life. I have felt this way recently while reading Mosaic by Amy Grant and A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.
3. Standing on the beach, wind in my face, toes in the sand, facing the waves, breathing it in. I sometimes think that there is a more intense connectedness to God there than anywhere else on Earth.
4. Writing something that someone enjoys reading, whether they can identify with it, think it’s funny, or are inspired to try something I’ve written about. I love it, and especially when they tell me about it.
5. Standing in front of a group of teenagers and making them laugh while teaching them English grammar. It is not easy to make grammar fun, but I sometimes make that happen. At least if they don’t learn it all, they’ve had fun with me and don’t hate grammar quite as much.
6. Having old bowls in my kitchen. They are beautiful, even the rustic ones, and they are useful and somehow, they make me feel a sense of comfort.
7. Making people happy when I bake or cook something that they enjoy eating. When I deliver my freshly-baked cookies to someone, and when they can’t even wait for me to leave before they open the bag to have one and then make that “mmmmmm!” sound, I get happy.
8. Hearing my children’s laughter from another room when they’re playing together, whether it’s Monopoly or a video game. This is no small feat, as two of them are very competitive and don’t always end their games with laughter.
9. Walking through an old house or an antique shop. There is so much beauty in old things, and there is a connectedness to the past when in those places. Just a stroll through my favorite antique shop in my town refreshes me, too, and I go back to my day with a new attitude, a lighter heart.
10. Harmonizing when singing with others, especially with my sister. It feels like we are sending our voices straight to Heaven when we harmonize; in the moment, it feels providential.
Now that I’ve written those ten, I can think of quite a few others! Perhaps this is what gratitude is; paying attention to the good things, and, recognizing them, being thankful, because there is much to be thankful for. Perhaps you’d like to make your own list and share it somewhere? I’d love to read it!