52 Project, Week 38: Happiness
Happiness. What a word. The dictionary defines happiness as a state of well being, contentment and joy.
In my notebooks over the years, I’ve made many lists full of the things that make me happy. When I think of the words contentment and joy, everything on my list fulfills those two descriptions of happiness.
What about well being? The dictionary defines well being as the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. That’s where it gets tricky. You see, a lot of people are neither comfortable, nor healthy, yet they retain happiness. They are grateful for their lives despite their hardships. This is something that for the last year, I have been working hard on.
When you are a healthy, comfortable person, the little things are taken for granted. It’s hard to imagine any life other than the one you are living. Though you might try to be empathetic, you can never truly put yourself in someone’s shoes unless you have also walked that path.
Although my health has always been frail, it has never been as fragile as it has been this last year. I’ve lost count to the number of times I’ve had anaphylactic attacks and nearly died as a result. I can’t say how many times I thought to myself, this could be the last year of my life, what will my family do without me?
I am not afraid of death or dying, having faced it so many times. I think it would be peaceful to be without suffering. Not that I want to die. I love being alive. I love waking up every day. I delight in the weather, the seasons, my family, and what health I do have. So many suffer so much more than I have. I feel selfish when I think of my hardships because I do not deserve to complain about them. I don’t feel I can, when there are so many who suffer more than I.
I like to focus on what I do have and what I can do. I focus on teaching my children and maintaining my home. I also focus on maintaining my health and my education. I focus on my relationship with God. I am thankful. I am grateful. I have joy. I am happy.
Every person has a puzzle of their life. When we are born, we’re given this giant jumble of pieces which makes up the sum of our entire lives. As babies, we don’t even yet understand this. We are new and young and innocent. As we grow, we begin to understand basic concepts, like walking, talking, and eating. We don’t even realize that we’ve begun to sort out some of the basic pieces of our pile into categories. Some of the like colors are being separated into piles.
As we grow, we begin to learn about EVERYTHING. We learn about relationships, God, emotions, animals, history, science, art, and we begin to explore our world. We still sort our jumbled puzzle mess into color categories, but we also begin to make basic connections and understanding that start to piece our puzzle together.
At some point, we begin to realize that by having discipline and choosing to do hard work, we can benefit ourselves. We also realize the importance of helping others. We discover that we can help ourselves with introspection and we try to learn from our mistakes.
We have a greater desire for connection and faith in God. We work on developing our relationship with our creator and deepening our faith with more in-depth studies of the bible.
We might, at this point, begin to realize that our life is a giant puzzle. We know that we can’t see the whole picture yet. We can only focus on our little piece that we’re working on. We know that God can foresee our completed puzzle and how our puzzle connects to the puzzles of others and the entire beautiful masterpiece as a whole.
For me, my happiness is a variety of things that make my puzzle feel more complete and whole. It’s my happy memories, my future prospects. It’s this present moment and my life where it is now. It’s the fact that I’m alive and I can continue to have new adventures with those I love. It’s my relationship with God and feeling safe in his protection and love. It’s the giant puzzle that is my life.
What makes you happy?
Previous Week: Apples
Next Week: Explore
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