Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Choice to be Happy

People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be ~  Abraham Lincoln

In my life, I have experienced many peaks and valleys.  Everyone likes to be on the mountaintop.  It's exhilarating to feel like you are on top of the world.  What about the times in your life when you are experiencing a low?  Our entire world is going through this right now.  How do you feel inside your soul when you're stuck in one of these valleys due to outside circumstances that you may not even have any control over?

For me, the nice thing about valleys is that it gives you a great view of the peaks.  Even when those mountain ranges seem so far away, you can see them as long as you choose to look up.  It appears that many of us are going to be in the valleys for a while.  Are you going to let your circumstances dictate your own personal happiness?  Maybe your whole world is falling apart all around you and you feel there's no hope to ever escape?  Nonsense, I say.  You can choose right now, at this moment, to be happy.  You can attract other people into your life that will bring you comfort even though you're right in the middle of the deepest valley you have ever experienced.

I learned this optimism from my father.  I was with him the day the doctors told him his cancer was terminal.  He could have crawled into a cave when he got this news, however, he chose to spend his last days as a happy man, surrounded by his loved ones.  I saw the joy on his face as he purchased a brand new car just two weeks before we said our final good-byes.  He "raced" it all the way home.   What a roller coaster ride that was!  I was with him the day he bought a Weber BBQ grille for my family with his last dollars.  He proceeded to teach me all about grilling, because, he said, "if you're gonna do it, do it right".  There was joy on his face as he cooked his "word-famous" burgers for the last time, even though he could barely stand up in his cancer-ridden body.  My father chose to be happy even though he had no chance of leaving the valley of death.  At his funeral, his twin brother, Mike, read the last letter that my father had written him..."It's not over till the fat lady sings, but I can already hear her humming a few bars."  The fat lady was lurking, but even she couldn't distract him from his choice to live every day to it's fullest.

Today is a great day to plan a hike, to go on a new adventure.  Take a good hard look at that mountain in front of you and start climbing it.  Invite some happy people to go with you.  Listen to the birds singing and breathe that fresh air.  Put on that smile and show the world that you're happy no matter how deep the valley or how high the mountain.  Remember this, my friend, you've been created in His image, and He is a happy God.  He delights in you; He is with you every step of the way.   The world appreciates your smiling face, it's contagious.  Go ahead, show off your happy face and make a choice to be happy today and every day...

He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he ~ Proverbs 16:20

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