This is a small 8x16 canvas I made for my kitchen... and then a friend saw it and liked it so I sent it home with her and made another one. Which I turned around and donated to Relay for Life as a raffle item, so this is the third incarnation that is finally hanging in my kitchen. If you walk in and like it... it's mine! Just kidding. I'd probably give it to you. :)
I love quotes like this that can fit so many different situations and times in our lives. Some pursue happiness... Others create it. I think when I was younger (I'm talking my 20's here, people... now that I'm in my mid-thirties, my 20's sadly seem like a loonnnggg time ago) I looked at creating my happiness as a physical thing.
(No, Dad, not that kind of physical... you can go ahead and breathe again.)
Back then, I worked hard to create opportunities in my career so I could do more writing. I created friendships and fostered trust with people who I cared about greatly. I created a home for myself in my faith community by getting involved in the planning of liturgy and events. I created a way to fulfill my creative side by singing at weddings and at church. I created. I did. I participated. I took the bull by the horns and made my life into something I needed and wanted. I'm not sure I did it consciously in a decision-making-process sort of way; I just wasn't one to sit around and twiddle my thumbs much. I am so blessed that, the majority of the time, it worked. I was happy.
Now, though, creating my happiness is much more of a mental thing. I accept the things in my life (wanted or not) and create a mindset of happiness around them. It's that silver lining theme again... if you look hard enough there is always something to be grateful for. There is always something to look forward to. There is always something to be happy about. Instead of trying to change an unchangeable situation, I just have to create an attitude of happiness instead of pursuing one. I have to make sure I'm not waiting for someone else to create happiness for me and instead find it right where I'm at.
I was thinking about this today because August 8th and 9th are big ones for my family. My parents were married on August 8, 1964. Later, my brother Steve and his wife Patience were married on August 8th, and my sister Laura and her husband Jeff were married on August 9th. If you're setting a wedding date... I highly recommend this week as it's worked well for all of them. :)
Mom and Dad
Steve and Patience
Laura and Jeff
But I think the reason it has worked so well is that they have created their own happiness. I've watched them work hard at loving each other, understanding each other and accepting each other. They didn't just rely on love and pursue a happiness that is supposed to be owed to every married couple; they created relationships and opportunities to grow and honor each other. They focus on their faith and their families, and they work at respecting each other more than anything. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they don't get it right every day ... but none of us do.
I think the magic is in the fact that we all try.