Monday, January 4, 2010

I will be happy when...

I have a hard time being happy. For a reason that God only knows, I was born with a more somber personality. I’m not an Eyore, but I’m definitely not a Pollyanna either. I run kind of in the middle and have anxiety issues to boot.

I want to be happy. I want to be joyful. I want to be a person that makes others smile. I want to leave fear behind. I felt that I was on my way for a while and then life got in the way. For the past 6 and a half years I feel like I have been clawing my way out of a deep hole and trying to figure out who I am in the aftermath of my daughter’s death and then divorce.

Last year, I was asked by one of my dearest and oldest friends, “What happened to you? You used to be so full of life.”

This question really hurt, but as so many questions that evoke large emotional responses – was right on. What had happened to me? I can answer with a litany of things and situations, but more than that, it is my responses to those events that truly shape who I am.

I know that I am a different person than I used to be. Everyone grows and changes, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse; and most of us have a combination of the two. I’m not as happy-go-lucky as I used to be. I’m not as bitchy, not as much of a know-it-all, not as sure that everything will turn out the way I want it.

I don’t want to be Eyore. I don’t want to be angry, bitter, disappointed and I know that I have made HUGE inroads in that department! My faith is growing by leaps and bounds. I still have questions and am constantly working on trusting God in the midst of whatever is happening in my life. And this coming year already has some big challenges coming!

But for the first time in a very long time – I have hope…

My life is not the way I envisioned it. That doesn’t make it bad, just different. Right now, I am working on what I want my life to look like this next year. Not new year’s resolutions, but more a general feeling. What is important for me to have in my life? What makes me happy? What makes me smile? How can I leave fear behind?

So, my goal for this next year is to work on joy. To be joyful in the midst of whatever life is currently offering…With that in mind, the following is a poem that I have read over and over to myself. Every time, it helps remind me that there is nothing outside of myself that will make me happy. Not another person, not a new tv, not a house, or a garden…

The Station
By Robert Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.
We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.
We are traveling by train.
Out the windows we drink in the passing scenes
of cars on nearby highways,
of children waving at a crossing,
of cattle grazing on a distant hillside,
of smoke pouring from a power plant,
of row upon row of corn and wheat,
of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hills,
of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.
On a certain day, at a certain hour we will pull into the station.
Bands will be playing and flags will be waving.
Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true
and the pieces of our lives
will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.
How restlessly we pace the aisles,
damning the minutes for loitering- waiting,
waiting, waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station, that will be it,” we cry!
“When I’m 18…” “When I buy a new BMW…”
“When I put the last kid through college…”
“When I have paid off the mortgage…”
“When I get a promotion…”
“When I reach retirement I shall live happily ever after!”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station,
no one place to arrive at once and for all.
The true joy of life is the trip.
The station is only a dream.
It constantly outdistances us.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto,
especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24:
“This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
It isn’t the burdens of today that drive people mad.
It’s the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.
Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.
Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice-cream,
go barefoot more often, swim more rivers,
watch more sunsets,
laugh more, cry less – life must be lived as we go along.
The station will come soon enough.

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