English: 1882 photo of Lillian Russell in the Bijou Opera House production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience Português: A cantora Lillian Russell, na ópera Patience, em 1882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This sentence has always troubled me. I have heard it off and on when I was growing up. And today in movies and television programs – there it is again. Usually from parents talking to their children. Usually after a “talk” about what they should or shouldn’t be doing. The sentence “I just want you to be happy” is a disclaimer to any and all unpleasant topics and issues.
But what does it really mean?
I heard it yet again in a movie I was watching – and turned to Greg who was standing in the kitchen and said, “HA! There it is again! Those words.” It is not the first time I’ve turned to Greg after hearing something like this – nor will it be the last. This phrase seems to be one that is heard over and over again.
What does ‘being happy’ have to do with real life? What exactly is the state of ‘happiness’ anyway? Is there a quick pass and free ticket to that place just because someone wishes it for me? “Well, since you put it that way – I guess I will be happy” It doesn’t work that way.
Happy is a neutral place found by those who have felt the opposite once or twice in their lives. Somewhere where pain is absent but easily remembered. Where struggle and frustration gave birth to break through and hurt and determination yielded fruit.
I can no more wish that place on my children or anyone else without knowing what true happiness means – and what it takes to get there. I believe you can’t get to happy without the ‘unhappy’ and all the rest first. I know the journey to get there is worth it. But I have also lived longer, tried more things and know what works with people and circumstances and what does not. I am striving to live in that place of ‘peace with all men’ and will do anything to remain there – in that place that is eternally ‘drama free’. But that takes experience and just plain hard work.
A better thing to say to others is this:
I want you to be healthy. Health requires good choices for your body and mind. To be aware of what influences affect and pull you in ways not good for you. To know your limits. To fulfill your purpose. To develop those God-given gifts and talents. To move by God’s leading and always hear His voice.
And if you just must reference that word ‘happy’ – then I would say this instead:
I want you to always choose to be happy. That in itself is a loaded statement. You mean we can actually choose to be happy? Even in negative circumstances? Even when life is crashing down all around? Even when I have no money for that next bill? Even when someone has said negative things – ruined my reputation and tried to steal my joy? Even when illness comes to stay? Even when no one understands?
It is in just those such things that eventually bring a kind of ‘happy’ – but it is deeper. It is more like joy. For in those trials and adversity – something happens to us. We depend and lean more on God. We get to know and understand His mercies and kindness. Patience and perseverance are developed in us in an intangible way.
Psalm 3:3 says:
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
When He is the one protecting and providing a shield around me and my circumstances, I can look at things differently. I can lift my head. I can choose to put on joy.
Won’t you choose to be happy? Allow Him to walk beside you through those stormy times of life. And He will lift your head. The next time someone says to you, “I just want you to be happy” come back with this statement: “I will choose health and choose to be happy no matter what my circumstances”. You will be empowered by this statement of faith. And in your faith – you will find happy.
- Choose to be happy (hopeoflight.wordpress.com)
- Choose Happiness (whenibegintothink.wordpress.com)
- we are the masters of our own thought, actions, words and emotions (onelifetimeblog.com)
- Choose to be Happy! (fairygodmuma.wordpress.com)
- Happiness is a choice.. (ineedamom.wordpress.com)