Rarely does happiness follow a straight road to happily ever after. Because of happiness’s elusive nature, sometimes it is best to embrace the winding road to happiness and notice the happiness that is already there.
The road to happiness does not often manifest itself after some wonderful ever after experience, and then last to infinity.
In fact, it rarely resembles a fairy tale story or a Hallmark movie.
But then you probably already know this.
All you need to do is look at your own life. Or the lives of those around you.
Happiness is elusive.
Its road is never straight, traditional, or even without potholes and speedbumps. And if it is anything like mine, round-abouts and dirt roads litter its already winding path.
The memoir by Heather Harpham says it all. Happiness: The Crocked Little Road to Semi-Ever After.
Happiness happens differently than we expect.
Heather Harpham thinks happiness and her life will intertwine and proceed in a normal straight line.
She will have a successful and impactful career, meet a man, fall in love, marry, have a few children, and live a happily ever after life.
But then her plans start to unravel, like the best of our plans do.
She falls for a man. He doesn’t want children. She gets pregnant. He still doesn’t want to have children. She decides to be a single mother. Within hours after her daughter is born, her baby needs a blood transfusion. Then another, and another.
The father tentatively starts to be involved and wants to co-parent, but now Heather has to work through her anger at him for breaking off their relationship and not wanting children.
After months with no diagnosis, and almost monthly blood transfusions, it turns out that the child will need a bone marrow transplant. Otherwise she will die from the disease or to many transfusions.
Heather and her partner slowly form a family, trying to work through the difficult choices and fears of raising a sick child while seeking difficult treatments with no guarantees.
This wasn’t the life Heather imagined for herself, nor the one she would have chosen. But through it all, she finds happiness in family, friendship, love, and this world itself. Sharing her hard won happiness with the reader helps the reader see their own happiness.
Search for and notice happiness.
Just like Heather, I bet you can relate to life having twists and turns you didn’t anticipate.
Or the order of your life events switching themselves around.
Maybe you are waiting for some normalcy to descend into your chaotic life. Some road bumps to smooth out. Some turns to straighten into a boringly straight interstate with multiple lanes where you can zip along at top speed and finally accomplish all those things you have wanted to.
But the one thing I hope you are not waiting for is happiness. Because happiness is here and there along your path. It takes noticing on our part, but it is there.
Sometimes it comes in huge bursts, like a giant meadow of red poppies on both sides of your road.
Other times it appears in small doses. Waving from the middle of a weed infested round-about. Or blinking like a tired billboard along the road.
The other thing I hope you are not doing, is delaying happiness. Making it wait until things align just right.
Because we do this. Deliberately and un-deliberately.
Like when we say we aren’t going to stop and rest until we get X, Y, and Z done. Or we refuse to be in any family photos until we lose X amount of weight.
We sometimes do the same thing with happiness.
We might try to not feel much happiness until we accomplish something (get a job, get pregnant, go to Europe, or clean our house). Or maybe until an event happens (we get married, spring comes, or we retire).
Don’t put off happiness, enjoy it along the way. It is meant to sustain you and keep propelling you along your path.
If happiness is lacking in the present, don’t forget to remember the past.
Often, we forget about past happiness we have experienced. We forget to look back over our life, peruse our memories, or look at picture albums, and remember all the ways and times we have been blessed with happiness.
Another way we manipulate happiness is by thinking we don’t deserve happiness.
We have all thought this and used this thought-ploy to guilt or punish ourselves. Don’t fall for this old and sorry faced lie.
You deserve happiness. Are worthy of happiness. And were made to communicate and enjoy happiness.
God created you in happiness. Delights in your happiness. And wants his happiness to shine through you and out to those around you.
Enjoy the happiness within your life.
Be grateful for your happiness.
Sow some into the lives of others.
All good gifts come from the creator.
Happiness is one of them. If we just notice it.
We don’t get to choose all the plot points in our life, but we do get to choose how we will react to those twists and turns and whether we will look for happiness or choose to focus on the disappointments.
This book reminded me that happiness quite often looks different than what we planned or hoped for. That our plans are often changed by life and others, but through it all, happiness is there.
Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.
Join the Discussion: How has happiness surprised you?
- Don’t Let Fear Keep You from Living - January 20, 2021
- Embracing the Extremes of Life: How and Why We Can Do This - December 8, 2020
- How to Already Never Be Listening (What Not To Do) - November 11, 2020