This is a reblog of a post I wrote a few years ago. I wanted to share it again in case you missed it. And so I could share some of my 2017 list (coming soon).
Yes, it has been three months since I’ve blogged. I pretty much gave up blogging.
But recently, some friends encouraged me to continue. The type of friends that I’m honored even take the time to read my writing–much less miss it when it isn’t there.
One kind soul even took the time to ask if I was “okay.” So here is the short story:
October and November were difficult months. I’m not gonna lie.
December was peaceful, pleasant, and even fun. But with the peace came sort of a spiritual “dryness” that left me really with nothing to say and definitely, nothing to shout above the din of viral videos, cute cartoons, pithy comments, family photos, Christmas music, personal notes, and far, far better blogs than I’ll ever write.
My theory is, when I have nothing to say, I should be quiet.
But there is a competing theory that there is never a perfect time to write. Life will always be messy in some respect or another. Sometimes, I just need to do it. Even when it is easier to just be quiet.
Anyway, so in December, I was kind of a cautious happy, not a confident happy. I tried to blog a few times, but I wasn’t quite able to pull it off. And this week, my spirits seemed to be in a steady decline.
By Tuesday afternoon, I would listen to anyone who would tell me a tale of woe. And when anyone else would listen, I would tell my own tale of woe. Pretty soon, I felt like one unhappy person surrounded by a world of unhappy people. 6 billion unhappy people is a lot of unhappy people.
And we would all say, “Oh, and Happy New Year!” at the end of the tale. As if, suddenly, the clock would strike midnight and we would all reset to happy. (No pressure, January 1).
Seriously, though, I found myself asking, “Are there any happy people out there?” The poor aren’t happy. The rich aren’t happy. Students aren’t happy. Working people aren’t happy. Retired people aren’t happy. Parents aren’t happy. Kids aren’t even happy. How messed up does a world have to be for kids not be happy?
I’m willing to wager that if I had been at Disneyworld on Christmas Day, I could have found for you boatloads of people singing the blues to “It’s a Small World After All.” If the happiest place on earth is devoid of people living happily ever after, what hope is there for the rest of us?
I read somewhere that the key to happiness in a relationship is the constant belief that the other person is better than you deserve. The more I thought about that, the more I have realized there is a lot of wisdom in that simple statement. Perhaps because, whether they realized it or not, the author’s conclusion was essentially the biblical principles of humility and gratefulness…with a touch of contentment.
I’m convinced that the same truth applies to happiness in life. Choose to believe that your life is better that you deserve. [BTW: that is the truth—whether you believe it or not.]
I don’t intend to be trite—I know that some of us were created to think constantly, feel deeply, and care passionately (not only about our own hurts, but about others’ as well). It can seem cold and even irreverent to cast aside feelings of hurt for feelings of hope.
But, nevertheless, it is never wrong to embrace the joy that humility and gratefulness bring. So, I started to do something new this New Years. Not a resolution, but maybe a new tradition. I decided to write down one hundred things I was grateful for—one hundred.
Some came quickly…and in no particular order: New Kitchen cabinets. Working heat. Ministries I get to be a part of. Grandparents. My Sunday School class. The Bible. A working car. Dish soap. My phone. Salvation. Julie Anne. Photos.
Some brought to mind a negative counterpart…my health (but not migraines). My paycheck (but not taxes). But I put a lid on that: no list of things I’m not thankful for.
My resolve was tested before I even hit 20. My day included poorly timed reminders that all was not well in life—or at least not the way I want it. But when you keep in mind that what you deserve is hell, that kind of puts a different perspective on things. Life is good when it is better than you deserve.
I got to 50 without too much trouble. Then I started again: Roses. Indoor plumbing. Nieces and nephews. A hope of heaven. The USA. Our troops. Sundays.
I named people God has brought into my life; current and past. The Lanes—who let me stay at their house and drive their car for free for 8 weeks while I studied for the bar exam. My sisters and brother – who let me buy annoying toys for their kids. Candi Grinder – my high school yearbook advisor who told me I was good at graphic design. The Kinzers – Clients who have come to be special people in my life.
That brought to mind a story that I just have to share…I was in Kentucky by myself and the weather was an ungodly 1 degree. I needed to leave and I couldn’t get the car to start. It was bitterly cold—my brain was frozen and I couldn’t really think of what to do next.
Jerry Kinzer—one of the wealthiest men I know—happened to call and asked about something. I confessed that it wasn’t the best morning in the world and that I couldn’t get the car to start. Jerry could have done nothing at all. He could have said he was sorry. He could have given me the phone number of a tow company. He could have sent one of the 100 or so men that work for him to come and give me a jump.
But a few minutes later, he showed up in the 1 degree weather, hooked up the cables he brought (with his ungloved hands), and jumped the jeep so I could get on the road.
There are a lot of stories like that in my life. There are a lot of people like that in my life. And before I even got to 100—I was wholly convinced that my life is much better than I deserve.
Are there any happy people out there?
I don’t know. But there is at least one happy person.