recyled advent week3: joy

Another recycled post. the topic was happiness and the original title was
"pursue something else" but it isn't such bad reminder about where our joy should come from. Not presents or lights or even homemade cookies....although I do really like cookies.

Americans like the idea of happy.
of pursuing happiness.
It is even one of our inalienable rights at least according to the Declaration of Independence.

But I think maybe we should pursue something else.
like love or joy or peace or contentment.

and leave happy alone.

Don't read me wrong. I am neither bitter nor cynical. Even my problems are good problems. I am positive. Half full. And most days I laugh a whole lot more than I cry.

And simple things like a dance party in the living room, an hour alone in Barnes and Noble, the yellow pajama pants my son picked out for me for mother's day, potstickers, clean sheets, someone surprising me with coffee, jeans fresh from the dryer, a good song on the radio, or squeals of delight when I walk in the door all make my heart sing.

They make me happy.
For a minute.

But when the squealing turns to screaming, my new pants are dirty, the sheets are in a jumble on the floor or the coffee runs out....where does that leave me?

And happy isn't always good.

I remember talking to a favorite old friend right before Owen was born.
She told me that she was leaving her husband. That she wasn't sure she loved him anymore. That she just wasn't happy. So she was leaving.
There was another guy who made her happy and she was going to give that a try for a while.
She was pursuing happy and threw away of lot of good things in the process.
I wanted to hop in my car and drive the three hours to see her. To love her. And then shake some sense into her.
I think maybe we are all so often unhappy because we are pursuing something that won't last or an ideal that doesn't really exist. The fake picture we saw on the Cosby show or read about in greeting cards.

Happy is short lived. Experiential. And we keep desperately looking for it. Hoping for it to show up on our doorstep, in shopping bags, bottles, other people and pills. And it often makes it's brief appearance and then moves on to someone else.
I want to seek something a little more permanent.

A joy forever etched in my soul. That is still there even on days where I struggle to smile. In being content. Like Paul. Paul wrote the "happiest" book of the bible, Philipians, while rotting in a jail cell. Because his joy didn't come from his circumstances or his new favorite pair of pajama pants. But from Christ.

And He is surely worth pursuing.


Kier's Serendipity said...

You thought of happiness in a way that I never have before...and I have to say, you got the wheels a-turnin'. Thank you!

Dawn said...

Loved this post last year and love it even a little more this year!

samskat said...

This reminds me of something I saw not too long ago about happiness...don't remember exactly where, or what it was, but it was along the same lines...that the happy that we are so desperately pursuing is only attainable for the briefest moment before we move onto the next thing that will make us happy...I'm with you, I want joy or peace or something that will just always be there with me...thanks for the thoughts!!!