Happiness

A few years back I started going to church after 20 years away. I didn’t feel any real need for myself to head back, but I wanted my kids to know some sort of religion (what are they going to reject when they’re older if I give them nothing?) to know the bible stories and feel the connection to community that church can give you. We move so often that being part of a congregation of locals is almost an instant way to feel part of the community. I thought I’d sit through the service, go through the motions, but what happened was so different. I felt happy and peaceful each time I left.

We began attending St. Mary’s Episcopal church in Edmond, OK. There were three services offered every Sunday and we found our place at the contemporary service. The actual church part was exactly like a normal old Episcopal service but the music was so not. No droning organ with 7 verses of some old hymn. For the first time I was introduced to contemporary Christian music and I actually liked it. I liked that there were songs I could sing with my kids that were uplifting and fun (they brought back camp memories too) and from that church experience… well… I actually started to listening to Christian music on the radio. Even admitting that makes me cringe a little – I’m the girl who likes alternative and punk and throw in some folk and angry girls with beautiful voices – but songs about God – not so much.  Until I did.

I just read the editor’s note in the January issue of Real Simple. The issue is about happiness and Kristin van Ogtrop wrote “when I was very young, I was convinced that, once I became an adult, I would ‘be happy,’ as if happiness were like a blanket of snow, covering everything in sight with a dazzling, seamless beauty. Now that I am an adult…. I hardly know what ‘be happy’ means. I only know that happiness is small rather than big, and always closer than you think.” And this paragraph has been rambling through my brain since I read it.

I’m generally a pretty happy person. Even at my most sad times I’ve been able to see that the feeling is only temporary… all emotions aren’t constant and  happiness would come back at some time. I like to think that happiness is little events (Jeff wearing a duck towel and dancing around the bathroom while the boy takes a bath, finding a traffic light free way to get the kids to school, crisp clean sheets, new boots,  Bunco night, playing Legos with my kids) and taking notice of those events and knowing that you are happy in those moments and pulling out those memories when you need a boost.

Thanks to my above mentioned “listening to Christian radio stations” (although many of them now tote themselves as positive alternative) the word happiness has a sound track  in my head. There’s a song that plays often on these stations called Oh, Happiness (click away to hear it – although I’ll warn you that it may get stuck in your head) by David Crowder Band that reminds me that happiness is there for all of us… and it’s something that I have that I can give to others. When I go to church  I’m not always enraptured with the sermon and I may forget the lessons as I walk out the door but there is a prayer we say together as a congregation (it’s in the Book of Common Prayer) right before we leave and there is one line in that prayer that uplifts me every time.

Send us out to do the work You have given us to do…

This line gives me hope that I can connect with other people, that I can share my spirit, my happiness, my positive outlook. So many times I’ve wondered about existence and life and what it all means, but I’ve decided that the work I’ve been given to do isn’t huge, it’s small and comes in small doses, just like happiness.  I  try to be nice to others…. to empathize or sympathize…to listen… to be a friend… to notice those around me that need a hand and I try to give it… and that gives me happiness. I don’t always succeed, and I mess up often, but still… I try. Oh, happiness…

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5 responses to this post.

  1. I love this post.
    Cori

    Reply

  2. […] 24, 2011 One of my friends Amy has a blog and I LOVE this post she wrote. I read it today and it has been swimming around in my head ever since. I won’t […]

    Reply

  3. Posted by Becca on January 24, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Great post Amy. Makes me think more of my happy moments.

    Reply

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