Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Are you happy..."

"Please stir my soul,
take me back to the fire.
And bring to me,
recollections of joy
and renew my first desire..."

This afternoon I was feeling a bit out of sorts. Which was strange since I woke this morning with a spiritual spring in my step and a winged heart.

What changed?

I went back over the morning. An inspiring church service,  connecting with friends, a loved sister's visit, hearing her beautiful voice as she performed one of my favorite songs, all during my favorite time of was perplexing. 

Then I remembered what had begun the shift in my emotional landscape. It was a seemingly benign question.

Are you happy?

It sent me spiraling into the whirlpool "me." Was I happy, was I feeling particularly fulfilled, was I "living the dream?"

Thank goodness for the Sara Groves' playlist on my iPod, and in that moment, her song, "Stir my Heart." It snapped me out of the hypnosis of personal happiness and back into the joy of living my first desire:
"Thy will be done."

I couldn't help but chuckle.  When did anyone ask Jesus if he was happy? 

Then, just when I thought I'd had all the reminder I needed, I caught the tail end of an interview on PBS. The interviewee was being asked the same question: "Are you happy?" And he related the details of an interview he had heard with Bob Dylan in which Dylan was asked the same question: "Are you happy?" And it was Dylan's response that inspired him, and in turn his referencing it, that refocused me. He said:

"The point isn't to be happy. 

The point is to be doing
what you're supposed to be doing."

It was the perfect answer for me at that moment.

The question, "Are you happy?" invites looking at one's life as it is, in comparison with what it might be. "Are you happy?" requires a judgment. Even if it's just a judgment of your own circumstances.

I understand the sentiment behind the question. And it's full of genuine concern, kindness, and love. But it's a question that I've never been able to answer cogently. And now I know why.

My goal isn't to be happy. My goal is to be doing the will of God. To serve Him, to align my life, with His purpose for me. That doesn't always leave me feeling all chipper and ready to "sing a happy tune" with a battalion of animated bluebirds.

But, it does bring me joy. And I think of joy as the light that radiates from a core alignment with one's divine purpose. One of my favorite hymns speaks of "the joy that none can take away..." That's the joy I aspire to. To feel a sentiment so deeply grounded that it can't be taken, shaken, or stirred by outside circumstances, or changes.

Am I happy? Perhaps. But is that the right question to be asking myself?  Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing, am I living on purpose...yes, I think I am.  That brings me great joy. 

Mary Baker Eddy has two statement's about "happiness" that, in light of this inner dialogue, I am pondering today.  They've helped me focus the conversation:

"Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love."


"What am I?

I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, 
and this is my rock of salvation, 
and my reason for existing."

Thanks to these statements, I am discovering that since happiness is spiritual, and it is born of Truth and Love, it is not humanly circumscribed. It is of God, and therefore,  there is nothing I can do to become more happy, or less happy. Like God, it must be impartially and universally, All-in-all.

And secondly, happiness is not something I get from the outside, it is something I have the privilege of imparting...radiating...from within. Imparting happiness is my "reason for existing, getting not.

Just some things that have made my Sunday all the more beautiful...

with Love,


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