Happiness can feel elusive during some seasons of life. I’ve been a little down lately, I think because of turning 60 and facing the fact that life is short. When you turn 40 or 50, you still have lots of good years to come, God willing, but at 60, you have to face the fact that you are past the half way point. For me, I have felt a little introspective and kind of down about that, wondering if my life matters and whether anything I’ve done will count for eternity.
The reason I decided to write about happiness on the blog is that I recently traded in my old and well worn car for a new one. In the past, I would have been so happy and excited to get a new car, even one with minimal bells and whistles (‘cause I’m cheap that way). This one has plenty of them though because the only requirement I had was heated seats and that package was an upgrade from the basic package but I went for it anyway. In Montana, heated seats are the best. The point is, I realized that material possessions just don’t bring that much in the way of real or lasting happiness. In fact, as I made the first payment, I grimaced a bit! Happiness and satisfaction aren’t found in fancy cars, big houses, jewelry, or clothes. I am thankful to have a reliable, safe car to drive, but it really doesn’t make me happy. Happiness flows from a heart that is filled with gratitude and contentment.
So here is my list of happy things.
Waking up next to my husband of almost 43 years: I honestly adore that man!
Hearing my grandkids yell “Grandma” as they jump in my arms at church: Psalm 127:3 says “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” My boys, their wives and my grandkids are a very great reward indeed.
Books: I know I talked about this in my last blog but reading a good book is such a pleasure. I am currently trying to expand my reading repertoire a bit and explore books I’ve ignored in the past. Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night is one of those. I confess to preferring political thrillers and sci-fi!
Flowers : What is more beautiful than a bouquet of lovely, colorful flowers? Small and simple or large and complex, flowers are a gift of God. I love seeing the bouquets come in for hospital patients. They cheer up not just the patient but the nursing staff as well.
The Garden : Growing vegetables is just plain happy. The crunch of a carrot freshly pulled from the warm garden soil and brushed off on my jeans is the best treat.
Riding my bike : There is something special about pedaling along, smelling fresh cut alfalfa, seeing deer, eagles, elk– even snakes – and just knowing the freedom of the ride. What a joy to pedal along a country road and see things up close rather than from behind the windows of a car.
Without a doubt, happiness is found not in material goods or money but in the relationships that define us, the attitudes of the heart, the willingness to reach out and try new things, but most of all in serving the Lord for years knowing that one day, He will welcome me home for eternity. And that is enough to make me smile!