I used to hate the word happy. I mean when you are dealing with 2 different types of depression, manic highs and chronic pain, there isn’t much room for happiness. Or so I thought.
Along comes a little three year old boy who in his short life has probably seen as much sorrow and challenge as I have in my 56 years. While he and his sister lived with us for two weeks he would quite regularly ask “Are you happy?”
The question came from watching “Despicable Me 2” and hearing Pharrell’s theme song “Happy”. But I think he really wants to know. At first my answer was a resigned yes. However, these kids were quite a challenge and there were times that I wanted to shout “NO and it is because of you!”. Then I would look at this lost and confused child and I would suddenly feel a wave of happiness flow over me. It is like hearing a contagious laugh.
Happiness is an attitude, a state of mind. One of my favourite bible verses is James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I believed that happiness was unattainable because of all the heartbreak and darkness in my life. I should have been believing that feeling joy would take away those blues and give me strength to turn everything around. I needed to have the faith that God was in control even in the worst of times.
For those of you ready to turn away because you don’t believe in God, please don’t. For those of you who are deep in the effects of mental illness and can not fathom feeling happy, I also ask you to stick around.
I am not saying it is easy to just turn on happiness. Some days it can seem like mission impossible. Then something will happen. My dog will come over and nudge me, or bring me one of her favourite toys; a song will come on the radio that lifts me up; I will look outside and see a bird or a couple of kids playing and suddenly things aren’t so bleak.
We can all learn from this little boy that no matter how bad things seem, if we can find just a shred of hope, faith, light at the end of the deep dark tunnel, we can be happy.
So, I ask again “Are you Happy?” And like my little guy, I really want to know!