Don’t read this unless you have the Courage to be Happy

By | July 25, 2011

In a country where eight year old children are medicated and the topic of most adult conversations centers around what’s wrong and the type of medication that is being taken as a result, I want to address the theory that to be happy requires an inordinate amount of courage.

Often times people will say or think, when this thing or that occurs then I can rest easy.

I have often heard my father state that if only this thing would happen then everything would magically, deliciously fall into place. I can feel nothing but compassion and sadness when confronted with this type of attitude. It always leads me to the same line of questioning.

So if this thing doesn’t happen are we simply just going to recommit to being miserable and waiting for the next possibility of happiness ?

My response is always the same. Who in the hell wants to wait and why are we waiting ? I would love to live in a country like the one inhabited by so many of the world’s population. In so many parts of the world where there is hunger, war and just unimaginable atrocities , people manage somehow to love and find joy in the smallest of events.

Why is that not the case here ?

I have heard some real doozies in terms of what is not working and why people are wallowing in sadness. Naturally, I have a few cures for the ignorant masses. Here are a few that might bring a smile to your face and a thought or two to your mind. See if any or all sound familiar and pointless to you.

I can’t stop losing weight. Come to my house and stay a week.

I’ve got the secret for weight gain.

I’m tired all the time. Take a nap. I’m depressed. Get off your ass and go find someone who could use your help. Work with a person far less fortunate than you.

I once worked with terminally ill children.

These brave soldiers endured blood tests, meningitis and in the case of one four month old , drug withdrawal. It is very difficult to kvetch when you’ve seen true suffering. It is a humbling experience to look at death and human pain in the face and know that the only thing you can do is witness.

The young children I worked with did not complain.

They looked forward to spending time with me and the hope that things would be different. What has happened to the adults who are supposed to be showing our young people how to thrive despite absolutely anything. Wake up big folks our young people need us.

Recently, I have been struggling with the realization that some of the folks I know are extremely privileged. I have been honestly looking at what it means to have constant and unlimited access to everything. What does it mean when you have so much and yet have so little inside ?

We have foregone internal growth and fortitude for iphones and flat screen tvs.

We have traded community and ongoing dialogue for serious debt, constant travel and little to no planning for the future. On late night television, Africa and “poor” nations/countries are trotted out to pull at our heart strings, demand our money and make us feel good about being American and bad that these dark children are so hungry and miserable.

Where are the indicators of personal triumph and the ability to create joy sans an overabundance of material goods ?

More appropriately, where are the places that measure greatness and security beyond financial accumulation ? It’s almost as if we don’t see a need to put any focus on that type of life. There is a belief that with enough money nothing else matters. Everything would automatically get better and fall right into place.

Money is important and if you live in America you better have some because that is the extent of our battering system.

Are we happy ? Happiness takes some serious courage. This is the case because it requires us to demand certain things, to demand that we will not allow outside influences to determine our emotional state or how we see ourselves and what we allow ourselves to construct.

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