The ancients knew we were made for it, we moderns are constantly seeking it: Happiness. It’s often associated with peace, rest, contentment, or completion. It’s the nunc dimittis we all hope to whisper at the end of our day.
No matter who you are, where you are, it appears as the Lode Star for all human activity and is the final sentence when the conversation is ending and the decisions have been determined…. “Well, as long as it makes you… happy.”
We are often deceived into thinking this peace or happiness can be crafted by us. That we can “make it happen.” But when the word is “baptized” or completed, it’s spelled beatitude or blessedness. This blessedness is a gift. It is “bestowed” upon the heart as a gift, not as something we manufacture.
But let’s just cut to the chase. How do we get there? How can we prepare the soil of our hearts for the seed of happiness? Here are three ways to “get happy.”
1. Stop trying to be happy.
2. Stop chasing after things to make you happy.
3. Just be….. and you will be happy.
I’m thinking you’re thinking this is too simplistic, but it is. Thank God.
Ultimately, when all’s said and done, this maddening, swirling, sometimes beautiful, often times busted up enigma we call human life is simple; it’s either a yes, or it’s a no. It’s a humble, gracious, Job-like “Thank You Lord for everything You’ve done for me!” or a stubborn, restless, job like “Now everything’s up to me!” With the first path, He Who is Love, not happiness, is the goal, and happiness is the fruit of that encounter. In the second way, happiness, not He, is the goal, and there is actually seldom any substantial encounter at all.
One way is totally receptive in all things to the Love of the Other, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to death so us part. The other attempt at happiness is deceptive for the love is turned towards myself. My contentment, my completion. My needs.
Opening Door #1, that is to the Other, means we become more conscious of ourselves, of others, of the Great Mystery, and we realize we are here solely to love. We see complications melt away and learn to live each present moment as a gift. We don’t try to manufacture joy the way we once did, with elaborate schemes, or expensive trips, or restless and fruitiness encounters.
Door #2 opens not into the Grand Ballroom of a Wedding Feast but into a closed in closet of our own small pleasures and plans.
So to be happy, stop trying so hard, looking so hard, cramming things into the God-shaped hole in your heart expecting them to “make you happy.” That’s not how it happens. Open the door to Love. Or rather, let Love open the door and come to you. For He has yearned long to share a meal with you. To share Himself with you.
Now, “clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do…”