Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Authentic Approach to Happiness

The authentic approach to happiness has more than one aspect to it.  The first is to know where all happiness comes from and at least a second is to bring happiness where you go.  Thankfulness being a fruit of happiness, is a good way to start, in my opinion.  But I am very opinionated and somewhat temperamental, which keeps me from showing Christ to others most of the time.  Christ decided to work on that for me this year by using, not a small flame licking my heals, but one of those huge blow torches that people use to fire up metals that only heat at thousands of degrees. Unfortunately, it worked only a little and I anticipate more burning off of scales sometime in the future.  In the mean time though I learned a few things.

Recently, I approached the procession for the Eucharist with a different mantra than I usually would think.  "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

I made my way back to my pew and realizing I had thought this, and that it was probably one of the best ways to approach Christ.  Usually I just approach him berating myself with a thought of 'let me die into you' or 'please have mercy', which are just as well.  But somehow, I think, a true sense of thankfulness came over me as I received that day.

I have been thanking Him profusely  for having survived this past year.  I am sure there will be tougher years, but it was one of those that God really makes you better for it.  Because of this past year I have decided to seek my own happiness and not cater to others in a co-dependent, people-pleasing manner.

"But how do I seek my own happiness without being selfish?", I thought.  Psalms answers this today in 119 where it states, "And I will delight myself in thy commandments, Which I have loved." v.47

I love Our Lord and music, art and nature.  All make me happy and all help me to know Christ and the Father more deeply.  That is the key of course.  To seek the image of God in all He has created is the truest form of enjoyment.  There is more than one part to the seeking though, and that is the 'remnant of God shown within us.' That is my duty as I pursue my happiness.  I must show the compassion and kindness of Christ to all whom I meet.  This is what was glaringly lacking in my person this year.  I raised my voice at times and got so frustrated I promised to quit!  I am pretty sure that I was angry every day of the school year and I am surprised I have any teeth left from gritting them in a fake smile.

Okay, fake smile. But I tried and everyday seemed a lie as I patiently tried to teach children who deserved love, but just had never cared for learning. This was the burning, burning, burning away at my usual disregard of others opinions.  Because my own silhouette was showing me the anger in my heart that I was suppressing, and my own voice was speaking the tone that did not represent compassion.

The psalm guides us to delight in God's commandments and love them.  'Thou shalt love thy neighbor.'  I was doing a pretty sketchy job of this with so much stress.  But when it was done, God showed me that I can be in a place where I am seeking my own happiness, because it is a place where God is reflected from me. The influences from what keeps me happy and stress less are the very things that illuminate Christ's love in me.

I hope to improve this year and I am happy to say I have not held on to any anger since the day school let out!  Goals this year: #1 Seek happiness and be happy about it.  #2 Make sure my happiness translates to showing a loving God I am thankful for.