The Happy little Coincidence

*Disclaimer. I consider myself a semi- religious person. I claim Christianity. However, I am not what I deem some to be, a “Holy Roller.” We only go to church sometimes, we don’t pray as often as we should as a family, and I am pretty sure my children don’t know all the books of the Bible, in order, by heart, as I learned as a child growing up in a Baptist school. I don’t have a problem with being open and honest about my short-comings of living up to a “good Christian” lifestyle. I try my best, and most days, feel pretty good about the outcome. My kids have had a smattering of church and religion. Most of all, I am hoping we will continue to plant the seed in each of them to want to learn more. Faith can be a funny, polarizing thing. Some people give christianity a bad name, and that’s a shame. I’m still not sure exactly where I fall on all of it, but read on anyway.

Because here’s the cool part. Every once in a while something happens in my life, that just when I begin to feel comfortable in the “good enough” religious lifestyle I lead, I get hit over the head with a big neon sign that says, “Pay better attention! There is a connection, a lesson in almost everything if you open your eyes and shut your mouth to see them every once in a great while.” Today was precisely one of those neon signs.

See, to be truthful with you, I have been having a hard time finding the right words lately to give to you, my readers, in a worthwhile blog post. Perhaps its because I have been so brutally honest and raw in my past posts, I feel unless I am doing so again, I don’t have anything worthy to read, or worthy to say.

Today I went to church. Tonight, technically. This is not a regular occurrence at this stage of the game, rather its more sporadic. I’ve belonged to a few churches in my adult life, but moves and excuses have always kept me from sinking in to a long-term church relationship. I always enjoy when we go. We are new to our current town, and so, we are new to this church, but I hope we will go more. I like this place. Its real, its non-judgmental. Its relevant. The pastor spoke tonight about joy. Its apparently part three in a series he’s giving on Joy in your life and the journey to it. Tonight’s message plainly was this: joy is not a goal. Happy is not a destination. They are choices we make no matter the circumstance. They are not outcomes, they are attitudes. What makes this message so special to me is that here I had woken up this morning with my blog tugging at my heart to sit and write out a thoughtful, heartfelt post. I felt like I couldn’t come up with much to say. I woke in a wonderful mood, just one of those delicious Saturday mornings where life just feels good. No rush, no plans, healthy kids, lazy morning, slow breakfast all together, just .. Happiness. So I sat down and started sputtering out what I often do in this blog, my feelings in that very moment. And this morning I felt, well, joy. I was having a realization that you have not for the first time, but as more of an affirmation, that life is beautiful and we make our own happiness, it can’t be bought, achieved or attained. So I began to write about that. But it felt.. flat, dull, obvious.

So, I left my half-finished post and went on about my Saturday with my family figuring I’d come back to this later. Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a few days, or a few weeks; once I found my voice on the subject, and most importantly, the point of why I was writing about that in the first place. I woke up today and started writing about how its attitude that defines our shared hours. That its perception that becomes reality. I wrote about how we wake up each day with a choice to make the day a gift or a chore. To choose happiness.

I went on to talk about this choice in great detail, but tonight during my editing, I accidentally deleted all of my words except what’s left below. And you know what? That’s ok. Because I found my purpose for writing this post tonight at church, of all places, and it wasn’t to tell you what you already know, happiness is an attitude, not a destination. No, the purpose of this post was to share with you that we can all find connection and purpose by looking for it. I didn’t have the right words for this post today, but my faith, though sometimes shaky, led me to them across town from the mouth of a pastor I don’t really know. I chose to head to church today. I chose to be joyful. I chose to be happy, and I chose to be faithful. None of it was by accident. Whatever your faith is, or isn’t, take this away from today’s post. Choose to be happy. Its just as easy as choosing not to be, only with a much better outcome. Sometimes you know what to say, write, do, be… and sometimes you need the universe to send you just the right amount of coincidence to make you wonder if there was something more to it.

Here is what’s left of this morning’s draft-

Every day we wake up with a choice. Each day is either a gift or a chore, depending on your point of view. Everyone gets the same twenty-four hours. For some, these are filled with painstakingly long hours of hardship, while for others, they breeze through them with comfort and ease. What makes the hours equal is the attitude behind them. Happiness is not bought or handed out to those most deserving, its there for the taking, by anybody, no matter what those twenty-four hours entail.

Within these days of endless diaper changes, messy young children and young puppies, stray cats, old houses, and lots of fresh scenery in a new home town, my days can seem long and sometimes lonely. But they are equally filled with magic and opportunity. its about making a decision. Will I receive today as a gift rather than a chore? If so, then I have to be willing to look at each part of the day that goes sideways as part of the greater gift. That can be hard to do, even harder when you have every reason to let doubt and negativity choose for you, to steal the hours of could-be happiness and replace them with minutes that drag on while you watch the clock waiting for the. day. to. just. end. Every day we all have the same twenty four hours. I’ve said this a lot. Mostly when I am comparing myself to others. How you choose to receive each day is up to you. Happiness is just an attitude, its not a destination. Is today a chore or a gift? The choice is up to me.