Do you remember stress-free fun?
You know what I mean; when time wasn’t a concern. You had nowhere to go, nothing to worry about. It was a springtime Saturday as a kid, and you had nothing to do but play. The weather was right, and your friends or siblings couldn’t wait to join you outside because it was the first Saturday that it was warm enough to finally be able to get out of the house. Your parents told you to be careful and be home by supper, but that was about it as far as it went with rules and restrictions.
No one had a cell phone. No one had a camera. All we had were our imaginations and time. Sweet, lazy springtime.
Today was so much fun.
Today my Nannie and I took my kids back on my grandparents’ farm for a picnic. We met my cousin and his wife who brought their nephew, Sam, to join us. A few phone calls later and we were joined by my little brother, as well as my sister and her little girl. It was so much fun, and brought back so many memories from my own childhood. It reminded me with so of those lazy days free of responsibility. It was fun, but it was pure happiness.
While watching my children, niece and little cousins building a “fort” and playing with glee, I suddenly realized with crushing force that I am happy: purely, infinitely, and incandescently happy, as Jane Austen would say.
How is it that I don’t realize this more often? How is it that I can know that my family is healthy, that we have everything we could ever need and want, that my husband and I have good jobs and even better families, and above all that we serve a God that provides and protects those who are His faithful followers, and not remain in a state of happiness and joy that exudes above all other emotions?
I fear that I have taken for granted this simple happiness for too long.
I fear that one day I will look back on this time of good fortune and good health, when I have all those I love most near me daily and realize that I took it all for granted; that I didn’t know I was happy.
Seems silly, doesn’t it? How can someone not know they are happy?
The sad fact of the matter is, most of us don’t know we are happy until whatever it is that makes us happy is gone. Happiness is treasured most when it becomes absent from our lives.
I think that’s why memories can simultaneously be so treasured and so painful. It was a time that we were happy, a time that we were blissfully ignorant of sad times to come. It is the realization of a time to which we can never return except in our dreams.
The thing is, we are all destined to face trials and tribulations. Loved ones will leave us. Financial strain is bound to happen at one time or another. Sickness will strike. Tragedies and war will never cease as long as sin continues to exist.
But what about all the time in between? What about those times of peace? What about those birthday parties and weddings? There will be first days of school. There will be the good diagnoses instead of the bad. There will be vacations and Easter egg hunts. There will be movie nights and pancakes on Sunday mornings. And there will be fort building and picnics on Saturdays.
I am happy, and I resolve to relish in these moments of happiness and peace while I have the chance.
Do you realize when you’re happy?
Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”