I Know I Should Be Happy, But I'm Not
Have you ever felt down when you really don't have any reason to be? I mean, we all have our share of daily annoyances and problems, but when life is going pretty well, by basic standards, yet there's this underlying feeling of...well...what do you call it? "Ehhh." It's kind of a flat-lining?
The thick muddy feeling that seeps inside your life and covers over all of your joy. Ya, I know that feeling too.
There was a time in my life when everything was going well...I should have been so happy. Family was healthy, business was doing great, marriage was on an even keel. All good things around me. Problem was, I was not good around me. I think what made it worse was the fact that I DID have all the right things that are supposed to make me happy and yet....this foggy unsettling was settling in my soul.
At this point in my story, some religious folk might want to boldly interject - "All you need is Jesus!" Problem with that, I already had Jesus. Yep, I'd been a Christian as long as I could remember. My grandpa, who's long since passed now, was a preacher and pastor of a humble little church for many years. He was a very dear man who was loved by so many, including an entire basketball team from the local high school. But that's another story --
But maybe, on second thought, it might just be the point of this story...
You see, my grandpa was a happy man.
Now that I think of it, Grandpa was so known and loved by those high school teens, that many took the time to come honor him at his funeral several years later.
So what was it that drew Grandpa to that high school? It wasn't because he had grandkids that attended there. It wasn't because he had a part-time job on campus. He wasn't there trying to raise awareness for any popular cause.
He was there simply because he loved people. He gave out the most prized resources he had. He freely gave of himself and his time. My grandfather would go to that high school week after week to cheer those kids on while they played. After the game, he was known to stick around and encourage them with a joke or two, (even offer them Lifesavers candies if they'd had a bad game.) I heard that He would bake and deliver celebration cakes to the kids as well. For all of this, they loved him. He never asked for anything in return. He just sat there on the bleachers in that gym, making a quiet yet impactful difference in those young lives.
He was always there...giving.
He didn't have a lot of money, but my grandpa was indeed a happy man. He knew the secret that would take me two decades to really grasp... sadly long after he was gone to heaven. That secret? We are truly happy when we are truly loving others. Love is spelled "G-I-V-E."
In a "selfie" world, where it's all about me, everyone wants to be happy and we are determined to have it our way, no matter what. Maybe we could benefit by taking a moment to stop all the self focus and listen to the lesson of my grandpa's quiet but profound gesture.
The bible says that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend. (John 15:13)
So, we say we want to be happy and we want to feel loved? We must learn the lesson of give. Choosing to take the focus off ourselves we just GIVE. We don't need money, all we need is a moment of our "precious" time - forgetting our stuff for a minute (laying it down) and genuinely engaging (giving) into another's life without any strings attached. (That last part is the key - no agenda.)
A simple concept, but yet, so many of us have trouble with it. We are choosing to spend our moments on selfies - focusing on what we don't have, projecting what we aren't, and not knowing who we are.
And then we wonder where is the love and why we are so unhappy.