My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, November 20, 2011

what makes me happy?

I love to drive into town on weekend mornings... when the very first light of day has broken through and the rest of the world is just beginning to stir... I love the solitude of just me in my car with Christian radio playing in the background... it's then that my pain level is usually the lowest, having not demanded much of my spine by that point in the day... and my thoughts are the clearest. Today as I was giggling and smiling for no good reason... finding joy in every little thing... I thought to myself, "this makes me happy"... and then I thought... "what makes me happy?"...

The leaves are no longer vibrant and vivid. The rain and cold over the past week have turned them brown and knocked them to the ground. Yet the stark branches were beautiful in their own way... the view is clearer and even with the fog and rain this morning, I could see things I couldn't see before. That makes me happy. The changing seasons make me happy. The comfort of the sameness of a colorful fall following a miserably hot summer which followed a beautiful spring... which followed the excitement of the occasional snowfall during the winter... those patterns make me happy. Predictability makes me happy. Nature makes me happy... God's creation makes me happy.

I glanced down at my gas tank which was still above full after I had stopped and filled up yesterday morning. Having adequate resources makes me happy. A full gas tank. A full pantry (thank you Mawmaw and Pop!). Bills that are paid on time. Having enough in my checking account to get me through to the next payday. A spare roll of toilet paper. Clean laundry. Hours to rest. Time, energy, money, food... having enough of these things makes me happy.

Yesterday we went and had a "we're not going to see you on Thanksgiving" lunch at Jim and Angie's with my parents. They're taking a train trip to New York for Thanksgiving. Spending time with family makes me happy. Knowing that my parents are embarking on an adventure they've never experienced before... a train trip and New York City at Thanksgiving... they're going to get to see the Macy's parade from my sister-un-law's boss's apartment above the parade route... that makes me happy. Getting to watch Sarabeth play basketball (she's very good!) made me happy. Reading a sweet letter that Jamie had written to me made me happy. The sandwich and chips simplicity of our meal made me happy. That my overachieving sister-in-law took my advice to "aspire to greater mediocrity" and saved herself the stress of a big meal made me happy. Watching football with my dad and brother made me happy. Austin wearing his grinch footie pajamas made me happy.

And lest I forget... my pink Christmas tree makes me happy. Knowing that my mom found one and remembered that we had lost ours in the fire... made me happy.

When I left out this morning Trouble the kitty cat was half asleep on my bed... when he heard my car he went to the window and watched me drive away. When I came back, about thirty minutes later, he was still in the window watching... he may have walked away at some point, I can't say for sure... but he was expecting me to come back and his big fluffy tail started to wag (yes, cats wag their tails too) when he saw me. I make a difference in his little life... that makes me happy. Knowing that I matter... makes me happy. Knowing that you can set the clock by Trouble patting me gently on the face with his soft paws at 3:30 every morning (he doesn't know that time has changed) to wake me up. He knows that I get up at that time. Both kitties meet me in the kitchen first thing in the morning because they know that while my coffee is brewing I will reach under the sink to the big bag of "num nums" and pour a scoop full into their dish. They know they will get fresh water. They know that I will settle into my nest with the laptop once I'm through in the kitchen. They know that when I take a shower and spend time in front of the bathroom sink putting on makeup that I'm going to be leaving soon. They know that putting on pantyhose means I'm leaving soon. And as pitiful as it is... I love hearing Trouble start to whimper and whine when he realizes I'm leaving. I love that they wait expectantly for Austin to come out of his room... and I love that they both scamper off to their hiding places when he does. My kitties make me happy.

The triumphs of my children make me happy. Of course I would love for them all to be living here in the mountains but the fact that they found their best life in distant places makes me happy. I would rather them be far away and successful and happy... than be close by or under my roof and be unhappy. It makes me happy that the two older boys work so hard... it makes me happy that Austin is here to help me do the things I can no longer do for myself. It makes me happy to hear about the things that make Austin happy... although I can never remember the names of his games that he wants to buy or rent.. his passion about these things makes me happy. Austin's persistence makes me happy... he's not always made to feel welcome everywhere he goes (kids can be unkind and cruel... like the girl who told him at church last Wednesday night, "nobody wants you here")  but he doesn't let that change his desire to do the things he wants to do. I wouldn't have the same determination but it makes me happy that he does. It makes me happy that he doesn't want those kids who are unkind to get in trouble... he doesn't want anyone to say anything to them... he just wants to ignore it. I wouldn't have that kind of forbearance, it makes me happy that he does. It makes me happy to see my children displaying positive traits that I know they learned from me and not displaying all of the negative ones (believe me, there are many that they could have picked up)... and it even makes me happy to see them displaying the positive traits of their father.

I suppose this is long enough... but I've spent a lot of time this year talking about suffering and how uncomfortable, downtrodden, discouraged and miserable I am... and I thought it was time for me to share the things that make me happy. It has been said that happiness is a journey, not a destination. I know this to be true. I also very strongly believe that happiness is not being in perfect circumstances, it's the ability to find joy *in spite of* your circumstances. I don't think I share enough about these moments of joy in my life... there are so many. I hope you find joy along your way too...