Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Five for Ten: Happy is a yuppie word



"Happy is a yuppie word
Nothing in the world could fail me now
It's empty as an argument
I'm running down a life that won't cash out"

-Switchfoot

I've gulped happiness in bottles and eaten it from piled plates placed strategically at gatherings among the comfort of friends, and I've then fumbled into the darkness of hangovers and extra padding on all the wrong places of my body.

I've studied happiness in textbooks and sought it in accomplishments, shiny medals and golden chords of honors adorning my neck at graduation only to find shear dissapointment in a diploma hugged in a black picture frame gathering dust in a box in my basement.

I've written happiness in the form of myriad stories, heartbreaking and soul-inspiring, printed in black type on white paper, delivered to doors across the county, and I've read defeat in the resignation letter left on my editor's desk after interviewing the source who broke the reporter's back.

I've fallen into happiness upon exchanging shiny rings, slipping one onto my husband's finger, binding our love into a lifetime committment and then easily, unknowingly tumbled into deep valleys of harsh words amid streams of routine.

I've grown happiness in the depths of my body, watching it expand as God knit together a beautiful baby, and I've labored into weariness, pain and exhaustion in trying to deliver him into a doctor's waiting hands, our arms, our hearts.



I've nursed myself and babies, happiness flowing like the milk through my breast, nourished two little lives while cementing a bond, and I've then felt excrutiating pain in the scabs on tender skin after drifting to sleep, baby sucking for comfort for too long.



I've found happiness in days spent under bright sun, chasing my son through knee-high grass and lost it the next day, drown out by the extended whines and shrieks of stir-crazy, house-bound toddler who continuously runs to the window in hopes that the downpours of spring have given way to fairer skies.



I've kissed happiness while pressing my lips against soft cheeks of baby skin, breathing in sweet scents of milk and then given it the cold shoulder when those cheeks thinned and played part in helping a mouthy preschooler hurl angry words in my direction.



When the happiness has faded, dropped behind the mountains, left me praying for some slivers of light, stumbling in search of my night light, groping in the dark for the switch, I've remembered words imprinted on my heart, memorized by my six-year-old self.

"Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

And I remember happiness weaves in and out of our lives like colors in a vibrant carpet; the thread of feelings is always changing. I remind myself it's a fleeting state when I find myself digging for it, searching for it in the temporary.

Everything changes, evolves ... summer to winter, babies to adults, lust to love. We need joy, inner peace to get through the valleys. And that peace, that joy, well, I've never found it in an empty box of ice cream or a single moment's embrace; I've only found it in the Eternal One, who never changes, never evolves, never fades.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, I could not have written this so close to my dad's death. You are an amazing woman. Keep holding onto Him.

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  2. I love love love those photos :)
    And the post... but you know that.

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  3. Oh Hyacynth, this post speaks to me so deeply! You have beautifully illustrated the double sided nature of life and how everything that brings us joy can also bring us sorrow...everything but Him and that's why He needs to be our Constant and Who we put our faith in. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!

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  4. I love this line: "happiness weaves in and out of our lives like colors."

    It is so true. Happiness has it's on times and off times. Sometimes bright and bold, sometimes muted. And the places we assume we'll find happiness aren't always so. I myself find that sometimes I don't even realize how happy something's made me until that SOMETHING is over. And I don't think this is particularly a bad thing, actually. I think that I was so fully engaged in the moment or the event - just BEING happy - that I didn't have time to think "happy." And that is a lovely lovely thing.

    Beautifully written post!

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  5. @Foursons, It was a hard thing to write. But I know it's true in every part of my soul. Love that you know what's going through my head right now. Just simply am so thankful.

    @Corinne, thank you. You are such a wonderful copy editor and cheerleader. :)

    @Maegan, Thanks for your comment. It is so double sided. I was just replying via e-mail to @Sarah and shared that happiness is often overlooked, but Sarah reminded me that having these times of real happiness often shapes us just like the times of grief and sadness mold us. Isn't it interesting that happiness doesn't get as much play, right?

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There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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