I have often thought of my life as some sort of work by the Brothers Grimm--without the dark edges, of course. But I have learned, through the years, that fate does not determine my course. I do.
..she lived happily ever after, not because Prince Charming came riding up on his horse to rescue her, but because she chose to rescue herself. And bought her own horse. And Prince Charming thought this was a good thing.
And, not because her happiness lay in the trappings of a large mansion and well-groomed estate, but because she and her prince found a small brick house with a neglected farm attached—and loved it back to life. Her subjects do not wear the fine garments of a royal council. They bear fur and have hooves and paws and lay eggs. Her crown is not made of precious metal encrusted with gems and jewels. It is a loose arrangement of hay, raining down as she tosses a bale over the fence.
She is rather plain by the world’s standards, never taking the time to paint the imperfections from her face or clothe herself in the latest fashion. Instead, she delights in a bare face, messy hair, and moving about the farm in her often-worn pajamas. It is a rare occasion, indeed, to find her sprayed with perfume. On most days, she smells of hay and horses—and often of honest sweat, and she bears the markings of crawling through the dark recesses of the barn on the lookout for well-hidden eggs. She digs in the earth to tend her beloved flowers, never caring that the weeding, and trimming, and digging would lay waste to soft hands and clean nails.
Each morning, she awakes early and only pauses to gobble down a bite to eat once all the others on the land have been fed and tended. She moves about, constantly flanked by her canine companions, bringing grain and hay and a soft pat to those who await her arrival. She fills her days with the physical labor of the earth, with entertaining the weary or curious, with creating marvelous new things that may bring relief to herself and others. While her days are long, she finds a moment to pause as twilight arrives and takes note of the stars appearing in the evening sky. And, as her faithful friend, Cisco, brays in the distance, she sips her cup and thinks to herself, “I am happy.”
It is a rich life, indeed.
Which, as you may have been wondering, brings me to my point: happiness. It seems to me a foolish deed to place such a precious responsibility on another. Our happiness, whether we believe it or not, lies not in what others do for us, not in what we have or can get, but more honestly, in what we can do for others—and for ourselves. It is a choice. A deliberate focusing on outward things, on acts of kindness, on acts of giving, on thoughts of gratitude. To paraphrase a very great man named Paul, regardless of my circumstance, I choose to be happy.
That power lies only in our own hands.
On a personal note…
So, I pose this for your consideration: Where does YOUR happiness lie?
If you cannot answer without thought, I would challenge you to go out today on a mission to perform some act of kindness that will yield no benefit to you. Something you can do that will bring comfort to someone or something in need without regard to what you will get out of it. Do this—make it your habit, and I guarantee you will know what true happiness feels like.
I would love to hear from you, in the comments, where you have found YOUR true happiness. Hit me with your story.