Things That Make Me Happy, First in What is Hoped to Be a Very Frequent Series

Happiness is not the end-all and be-all of life. If anything, we in America, especially who have signed on to the journey of following Jesus, have made happiness an idol, “idol” being defined as something we pursue ahead of God. Far too many say no to intimacy with the Almighty, or have a lukewarm and uneventful relationship with Him, because of aspects of the Christian road that do not offer immediate happiness: physical deprivation, bodily suffering, downward mobility, being mocked and insulted, forsaking family, being found among society’s outcasts. The pursuit of happiness, as good of a good as that is and as hallowed as it is because of its place in the pantheon of great American phrases, should not be our primary consideration, if we are serious about holding fast to what we believe is true and lasting.

Nevertheless, God does indeed intend for following Him to lead to happiness. Not a shallow, enjoy-it-now happiness, but a deep and meaningful type. And, though the real good stuff happens on the other side of glory, there are glimpses, however fleeting and seemingly shallow, that we ought not stifle, as though it is better to be dour and dreary than carefree and joyous.

And so, in my own stick-up-my-you-know-what way, here is my attempt at capturing the lighter, happier things that can be found in life. As with most of what I put up in this space, I will try to just say what comes to mind, rather than polish it up (i.e. to make myself look better, to make some deep and meaningful commentary, or to send some sort of signal about who I want people to think I am). Hence, what you will likely find – in what I hope is a running theme that there are many more chances in the future to add to – are some noble items and some not so noble, some deep and some not so deep.

1. My mom went on her first outing outside of the house (besides going to the doctor’s). It was to a flower arrangement class exhibit and she had a lot of fun seeing her old teacher and classmates.

2. My dear friend from high school has four kids, and he told me the sweetest story this past weekend when I called him. One night, they were all together, and he decided to tickle each of them in turn, just to hear their distinctive laughs over and over again, to savor that delightful sound of innocent childhood happiness.

3. My beloved Raiders pummeled the hated Broncos 59-14. That alone is a season’s worth of happiness, although now I’m greedy for a playoff berth. (Darn how easy satisfaction gives way to covetousness!)

4. I caught up with a college friend of mine who is doing really well spiritually: growing in influence in his church, making tough but correct choices in his personal life, taking care of business in his professional life.

5. I almost never buy clothes and often go cheap when I do (as is evidenced by the many things I wear that are frayed and ridden with stains and holes), but decided that with all my biking and the colder months approaching, I would get myself a quality jacket from Eddie Bauer. I ended up with a 3-in-1 that is warm enough for anything this winter can throw at me, and on a whim picked out a blouse for Amy that she really likes. I can’t begin to tell you how rare both of these occurrences are.

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