Being Happy Isn’t Always Best

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Courtesy of Mark Nickerson

We all want it.  We read articles, search for it in people, or buy one more thing that will finally make us happy…  Till it fades and we need something or someone else to make us feel good about ourselves.

We are drawn to these people who seem to have mastered the art of happiness. They seem to have so much fun and are always, well happy!  After all, fun=happy right?

Then tragedy strikes.  You lose your job, or your loved one loses their health, or maybe you are just plain depressed… Whatever the earth shattering loss is, the “happy” people disappear and you feel abandoned and rejected. The hardest part is you are left wondering, where did the friendship go?  I thought friends are supposed to be there in sunshine or in rain?

It’s hard to blame the person who chases happiness, because let’s face it, we all want to be happy.  Yet the constant pursuit of happiness can also lead to unnoticed selfishness.

Sometimes when we are out there chasing a feeling, we forget about those who are truly in need.  I love in Ecclesiastes Chapter 7: 1-4 (NIRV) shares:

“…People can learn more from sobbing when someone dies than from being happy when someone is born.  So it’s better to go where people are sobbing than to go where people are having a good time.

Everyone will die someday.  Those who are still living should really think about that. Sadness is good for the heart.  That’s why sorrow is better than laughter.  Those who are wise are found where there is sorrow.  But foolish people are found where there is pleasure. “

We were made for community.  We have never lived in such an individualistic culture, ever.  Modern culture says self love/selfishness is equal to our own happiness.  When people aren’t happy, they no longer stay and work things out.  Now we are encouraged to just quit and start all over because, I am no longer happy.

How do we stay in relationship with others without sticking it out through the hard times? What happens to the marriages? Kids? Friendships? Our society as a whole?  We have more people now that are on antidepressants, and suicides have gone through the roof.

What changed? Is it our own selfish desires that are letting our communities fall apart?

We weren’t made to carry our burdens alone.  That’s why G-d created others to be His hands and shoulders to help us through those tough times.  Quoting scripture to a person who is hurting isn’t enough.  Nor is saying they should give their pain over to G-d and just deal with their suffering alone until G-d rescues them.

He sends us. G-d doesn’t just want us to read His word, but do His word.  He sends us to be His comfort.  He sends us to show His grace. He sends us to show His love!

Jesus and his disciples went out to the sick, lost, and to the dying. He went where the need was great. He didn’t shame people for their pain, and tell them to get over it.  Instead he blessed and encouraged them with truth and love. Jesus did not come to teach us how to be happy. He came to show us the way of His Father.  He was sent to show us the greatness of being a servant. Not the greatness of being served.

Are we supposed to walk around somber and stoic all of the time? No! I do believe that there is a time and a place for everything.  When joy is to be had, we celebrate!  When injustice is done, we feel righteous anger and shake our fists!  When grief strikes, we weep.  It is all about timing and yes, sacrifice.

My life has been filled with valleys and mountains.  The people that I have found to be the most faithful, loyal, and trustworthy; are those that are there in every season of life. I know who I can count on, and that is priceless.

I have found true happiness isn’t in everything going right or fun 24/7. In fact, most happiness is quite temporary.  That’s why people look to affairs, drugs, spending time coveting and working for what others have… The list goes on and on.  Happiness is a feeling.

We should never be living life for our own feelings.  G-d calls us to share in His love with gratefulness and a humble heart.  When we are searching for our own happiness, you can be sure that there is hurt beneath our feet as we pass by those who need us in their tender moments.

Speaking as one who loves to laugh and feel good, I encourage you to love life to it’s fullest. However our happiness should never come at the expense of someone else.  Especially when I know they are suffering and I have the ability to be an extension of G-d’s direct word.

Being happy is wonderful in a healthy balance. One of our goals in life should be to leave our selfishness behind and instead embrace selflessness.

I have found true happiness comes when giving and making a positive difference. Whether it be a kind word, a special gift, or just the act of listening, there I find happiness.  When I see someone smile who has been in the depths of despair, I feel happy.  Feelings are fleeting, but it’s our actions that define who we are.

How do you balance a being happy?

 

If this story speaks to you, please feel free to leave a comment below.  If you would like to follow my blog,  scroll up on the right hand side and click on Follow to get the latest posts!  If FB is your thing, scroll on the right hand side and click on kellynickerson.com FB and Like!  I value each comment with deep gratitude.  Thank you for taking the time to read and feel free to Share with your friends!

 

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The Good Grief Girl

 

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In the Quiet stillness   Photograph by Mark Nickerson

 

As I smooth my hair back behind my ears, I pad forward in the lush emerald green grass that squishes between my toes.  The whole place is lit up as with a golden hue and I follow the children’s laughter.  It’s Heaven…

As my ruffled white sun dress flutters in the wind, I feel my heart and it is beating with joy. I feel no fear. The pain has left my body and I feel as light as a feather. I can hear and I don’t need my hearing aids anymore. It’s peaceful, even in my hurried pace.

The scent of wildflowers fill the air.  I hear their laughter again, only this time it’s like melody and harmony are doing a magnificent Viennese Waltz.  It’s so beautiful that it takes my breath away.

I finally reach the top of the hill and it’s as if a symphony is playing at a crescendo as my eyes lock with theirs—my children.

I see the Weeping Willows surrounded crystal clear pond.  Children are climbing the trees and playing in the water.  Their laughter is contagious.

Aurora’s hair is long, golden, with a tousled wave.  She has a wreath of flowers in her hair and her dress is a white with eyelet lace.  She is running barefoot with half of her dress hanging in the water. She looks up and yells to Eli, “Elijah Praise!  She’s here, Mama is here!”

I glance over to see him catching frogs.  No tubes, no scars, no bandages; just a happy little boy.  He stops and looks up, his steel grey eyes pierce mine…  I know those eyes!!  He flashes his double dimples and my heart soars!

There are two others, my two I didn’t get to meet.  They too are running to me.  I run as fast as I can down the hill, the wind whips my face and I can feel me yelling their names.  As I stretch my arms wide, I suddenly wake up.

As I lay for a moment in my bed, there is a chill in the air that makes me shiver that wakes me up to reality. It’s a re-occurring  dream I have had through-out the years. I brush the tears away, and sit up and listen to my kids here on earth, and smile.

I never planned on being the Grief Girl. In fact, I tried to run from it.

I do remember hiking in the back of our wild woods and finding an old cemetery. One grave stuck out in my mind.  It just simply said Baby on it. It had a lamb carved out on the top and was dated back in the 1800s.  I would often go by myself at age 11 and 12 and just sit silently visiting, wondering what had happened.

Maybe it was G-d getting me ready for what was going to happen later in life.

There was another time me and my friends were on a walk and came across another cemetery to cross through for a short cut.  We heard “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” playing over and over.  We followed it and found we were in”Baby land”, and look down to see so many names carefully scribed into the stone.  So much love. So much loss.  So many stories left untold.

When we answer the call of G-d, it’s often not in ways we would have expected or even wanted.  From a young age, I would pretend to preach sermons from my father’s pulpit.  I loved G-d with all my heart and loved the idea of going into ministry.  I would quiz my Dad for hours and ask him how he got “the call.”

I wanted “the call” too; and I didn’t want to miss it.

Little did we know that when my heart felt it couldn’t beat one more time, is when G-d whispered “the call” into my heart.  I didn’t realize that it would be a specific call or that I would even find myself wanting to run from it. Yet he called and I responded, “Send me.”

Often being in a ministry for grief, sickness, and for the lost; I get a lot of questions.  Some questions are, “This is just a season, right?”  Or, “Is this healthy? Are you sure you aren’t stuck?  Do you need counseling?”  This is understandable as most don’t want to stay in this hard place.  Most want to pass through it quickly and never look back.

Me, I have been instructed to stay.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”   2nd Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

He gave me comfort, and now it’s time to do my part.

What I have learned about those that grieve deeply; we also know joy at a level most can’t understand.  As one of my favorite books “Hind’s Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard, spoke about regarding Suffering and Sorrow being transformed:

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Hind’s Feet  Photograph by Mark Nickerson

 

“We are no more Suffering and Sorrow than you are Much Afraid. Don’t you know that everything that comes to the high places is transformed? Since you brought us here with you, we returned into Joy and Peace.”

Joy and peace are literally a part of my name. This book helped me explore all the emotions I had been feeling for so long and helped validate my experiences.

While Grief Girl wouldn’t be my first pick of dreams to fulfill, it is what I have been called to do at this point of my life.  (Like those in the Bible who have tried to run from G-d leading, I should have remembered he always gets his way.)  I wear this badge with honor and gratefulness.  I am a testimony of G-d’s saving grace.

When I see those that need to go down into the “Valley of Loss,” I take their hands and remember that it’s my turn to “Return to the Valley” and take ahold of another “Much-Afraid,” so that she doesn’t have to go through the journey alone.

Deep losses are devastating.  Yet when we allow ourselves to enter into the place of brokenness, that is where our Father can do the most miraculous work.  Without sadness, you can’t truly experience or appreciate joy.

Happiness is a feeling, joy is a gift and choice. While grieving is hard, it brings a gift that can only be earned; that is empathy, joy, and peace.

We all have a call on our lives that many may not understand. I am now embracing my title and renaming it, The Good Grief Girl.  With G-d leading, we press on to what He has called us to do, and that my friend is good!

What is your call?

Have you answered?

 

 

If this story has touched your heart, please feel free to leave a comment below.  If you would like to follow my blog,  scroll up on the right hand side and click on Follow to get the latest posts!  If FB is your thing, scroll on the right hand side and click on kellynickerson.com FB and Like!  I value each comment with deep gratitude.  Thank you for taking the time to read and feel free to Share with your friends!