How does happiness happen for you?

Are you happy? Pondering the subject of happiness stirred this story. As I grow older, losing keys, hair, teeth, even people’s names, prompts momentary unhappiness. We either find these things, replace them, or learn to adapt to such losses while holding onto happiness. However, the loss of family and friends – who made us so happy and colored our world with love – can leave us lost in a place where unhappiness can linger. We must make the choice to be happy even when sad, sorrowful situations threaten to take away our sunshine and steal our happiness. As we grow older things will be lost, but losing happiness doesn’t have to happen.

Lyrics to an early seventies song play in my mind taking me back to college and dating days. “Be young, Be foolish, Be happy” might be an oldie goldie but its message remains real today, reminding us ‘not to let life get us down’, to enjoy each day, and with childlike faith spread happiness around. If everyone would embrace happiness on International Happy Day, we could make it a practice and put smiles on faces and joy in lives every day of the year.

Writing before the sun rises over Tampa Bay in Clint and Jamie’s (my son and daughter in law’s) home, I watch God’s world wake up. The fog settles and sunshine peeps through cotton candy clouds. I think about going home with a smiling frown on my face and sad joy in my heart. Those who leave loved ones or have loved ones leave them, whether it’s for a journey to one’s earthly or heavenly home, understand the mixed emotions when saying good bye to people near and dear to your heart. My week here has given time to heal and enjoy each day doing happy things together, and though I am older and not so foolish…I am happier than ever. Sharing happy times with family is a cure for most anything that ails us. Clint and Jamie’s happiness makes me happy. Mothers and mothers-in-law everywhere understand that joy.

The gorgeous view from their 10th floor condo captivates, putting a hold on my writing. Closing my computer, my time in Tampa comes to a close also as we head for Starbucks coffee in route to the airport. We talked and laughed while sipping coffee and interacting with people in our path. Sharing a smile and word or two with folks usually brings a thread of familiarity into the conversation. This proves ‘It’s a Small World After All”! A smile can spark a friendship wherever we go.

Waiting in the airport amidst a sea of people, I felt alone. Wiping tears that invited sadness to steal my smile, I silently said, “I will be happy”! Writing while waiting in the terminal proved a point: plenty of people appear to be unhappy. Watching families, friends, and loners scurrying or settled in seats, most wore frowns and focused on themselves. Phones and computers captivated with people stuck in their own little worlds. How sad that so few people wear smiles as they travel through life.

Boarding the plane, I began my walk down the narrow aisle to row 20 – seat F with computer and carry on bag in tow. The slow procession took time as people struggled with overhead bags, tried to locate items, and pushed by people already seated to secure window seats. Unhappiness was on the rise. I deliberately did a happy test, noting each person’s face as I scanned row after row filled with people of all colors, character, and age. An older lady stared at me with a frozen frown that silently screamed, “Does anyone know how unhappy I am”?

From row one to row 20: one smiling face! Silent shouts screamed from my heart, “Where are all the happy people on Happy Day? Settling in my assigned seat, I pressed my face against the small window and had a heart to heart with my Best Friend. The plane ascended high above the clouds with me thinking of a heavenly destination. Our silent conversation continued, “Dear Father, thank You for taking care of me and my family… all of Your family all over the world. I am thankful for blessings and belongings beyond anything I deserve. I know this plane could take me to many different destinations today across this great big world You created… Foreign places where people call home and strive for happiness too. Thank you for my home in Clinton, North Carolina, for family and friends to share my life with. Thank you for caring for me and helping heal my broken heart, when You have so many hurting children calling out to You for help. Please have mercy on us and extend your Hand of healing and grace to all people in need, to places where sin has invested hearts, homes, businesses, governments, to people who do not know You as personal Savior and Friend, for hatred, greed, sinful lifestyles to be lost, for love, hope, and happiness to be found, and for the whole world – in one accord – to rise up in Christian love and focus on Your Word and ways. May Your sweet Spirit settle in hearts that have been hardened – may love softly and tenderly transform them to share that love and rise up as a body of believers with eyes on Jesus. I feel so close to heaven way up here with white clouds and a wondering heart. Really Lord, where is Heaven? “

Tears wet my face again with thoughts of a flight home from Tampa last June when James sat beside me and held my hand. During that flight, when turbulence made me shiver, James held me close, kissed my cheek, and whispered, “I love you…everything will be ok”! Today, a stranger sits by me who is holding her husband’s hand with a happy smile and earphones keeping her in tune to her world. I thought of how things change from season to season – flight to flight. Things come and go, people are here today and gone tomorrow, choices we make determine the happiness we have here and our final destination to go Home.

“Lord, wherever Heaven is…I wanna’ go when You are ready for me. Please forgive me for my sins, for when I allow unhappiness to ruin my time here–moments, days, even months – when HAPPINESS should reign no matter the season or situation. Thank You the joy of knowing my loved ones are happy in Heaven with You. Thank You for the prayers of my loved ones for a safe flight home, especially my sister in law’s amazing text prayer for the pilot, passengers, and me I read while waiting for take-off. Lord, I am thankful to be here and to be happy. The peace and love in my heart for being closely connected to You and my family makes me happiest of all. And God, I pray this plane lands safely in North Carolina, but if it doesn’t I know I will be ok…for either way I will be going HOME and that makes me Happy, Happy, Happy!