Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy?

My husband asked me the other day "Are you happy?" The shock of such a deep question coming from my normally quiet husband who is generally engrossed on the computer with planning the boat he may build someday-for now it's a virtual boat, stopped me in my tracks. How often do your friends or anyone you know ask you a probing question like that? Well, my friend Caryn does and she asks complete strangers and they answer her with their whole life story in one sitting. Now, you understand why we are such good friends.

So, I got to thinking how most of us go through life living in our own little silent world, talking inside to ourselves as we analyze our lives. Maybe asking ourself the same question "Am I happy?" I do a lot of journal writing about my thoughts and life. Although I haven't asked myself that specific question for a long long time. I do analyze what is going on in my life and how I'm feeling at the moment. It's helpful to sort out my emotions and get back on track.

Almost 20 years when I was about to turn 50, I remember asking myself that question and the answer was "I wasn't happy." My desire or hope was for just "one year of happiness." Those thoughts lead to some important decisions on my part as I got divorced and started over again with a new first name. I shortened my name legally with the divorce papers from Linda to Lin and tried to reinvent my life after living through or rather SURVIVING raising 3 teenagers, a toddler, and life with an unhappy husband. Guess what, taking that action lead to better things for me. A new attitude as I felt I was in charge of my life, ACTING instead of just REACTING. Later, I met Allen at a singles dance and life changed dramatically for me in the 16 years we've been married since then. (Photos of me in my thirties and with my cousin Marion.)

Looking back I'm not so sure it's important to be HAPPY as it is to be PRODUCTIVE and moving forward with your life. CONTENTMENT and PERSONAL PEACE are more lasting than momentary happiness or PLEASURE. Which leads me to think of JOY and all it's spiritual ramifications. Life is full of ups and downs. What are your observations?

8 comments:

Cheryl /Ashton said...

The phrase "personal peace" is great. That seems to me something to strive for. I try to make everyone happy around me but I must be happy myself in order to do so. Its a never-ending cycle. But if I just step back and look around me I see that I am happy (my "own" happy), that I am settling in to peaceful and I do the best I can. I can take what is handed to me and make it what I want.

Millie said...

I always found that matherial things do not make us happy...but being in the company of someone (as your husband) who makes you feel secure and at peace eventually brings contentment and happiness. Loving each other unconditionally is "the true" way towards happiness. By loving each other this way you never see the flaws that can break your marriage; on the contrary it mends and seals that love forever...bringing to both your lives true happiness.

Did you ask him if he was happy? His answer may answer his own question.

http://inspirationallettersbymillie.blogspot.com

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for this insight at just the right time. I think peace is the truest form of happiness.

Deborah Godin said...

Happy seems to me to be a word like interesting, hard to define it's so peculiar to aeach person. I've been many kinds of happy in my life, and almost none of them resemble each other.

Linda Reeder said...

Happiness seems to be a monentary emotion, while contentment last over time.

Kay said...

You are such a take charge, brave person, Lin. It's fantastic that you actually changed your name and your life.

Am I happy? Yes. I am. And I'm grateful for that.

Rambling Woods said...

I've always wanted to be content and at peace more than happy...

Brenda Leyland said...

Hi, I tried posting a comment earlier today and it went missing..... so now I'm not sure what I all said.

I believe being happy has a lot to do with our choices, first, what we focus on and, second, how we'll respond to situations. It's not only something I believe, but I've been walking it out for years.

There have been lots of times when things were not perfect or going exactly right, but in the midst of it, I would choose happy, because I've been happy, I've been sad, and happy is easier to live with.

Many years ago I heard a former Miss America, Cheryl Prewitt Salem, give a talk and she mentioned that being happy is a choice. I never forgot that, and endeavoured to live my days with that in mind. And it's worked for me. Some seasons it has been a struggle to choose it, but even those seasons are still lived one moment at a time and when I remember that I can choose, I choose to smile instead of frown or weep, and my whole being has learned to follow suit. And that's even been when our family's been through sickness, death, hard places.

I also know when I keep my eyes focused on Jesus, instead of circumstances or other people, I can do happy much easier!