I’ve always been a happy person: bubbly, eager for each day, anticipating the wonders of life, looking forward to the glorious treasures God has for me, enjoying various discoveries in my world. It was easy for me to feel happiness. It surfaced automatically with each shining day, surrounding me on my journey. But I haven’t felt happy for quite a while now. In fact, I find it quite elusive and wonder where it has gone. Like a lost piece of me, I search for it in vain.
Recently I read, “There is a vast difference between happiness and blessedness” from Streams in the Desert and I felt relieved somehow. I don’t have to be happy, though I miss its warmth and comfort; just knowing I am blessed is enough. A friend asked me recently if I was happy. “No,” I answered, “I don’t think we were put on this earth to be happy”. She made no further comment on happiness. (I can be such a "kill-joy" at times)
As Americans, I think we believe we have a right to be happy. After all, it’s written in our very own constitution as an “unalienable right”…“the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We often hear actors on TV or in movies saying the most important thing in life is being happy. As if that’s all that matters. But there is so much more. I think of Paul in the Bible who endured imprisonment, pain, sacrifice and suffering yet in the midst of it all was blessed. And he knew he was blessed. I may never feel the same happiness I felt before. I was younger then. It was an innocent time back when my life seemed perfect, but I do realize how blessed I am. The blessings surround me.
I also refuse to feel guilty anymore. I hear an annoying small voice whispering, “Well, you should feel happy. What’s wrong with you? You have healthy children, a beautiful home, and a safe place to live and food on the table. What's wrong with you? You SHOULD feel happy.” I refuse to accept this quilt any longer. I do not HAVE to feel happy.
There are many reasons why happiness has disappeared in my life. Most are due to major life changing events of which I have no control. I accept them now. I accept where I am. Happiness may be void in my life, but I KNOW I am blessed. Knowing this is not the same feeling as happiness. Blessedness is firm and solid and complete. Blessedness is real more concrete, foundational. Happiness is like vapors of smoke.
I am blessed. I am not happy.