How could I possibly question the true, genuine happiness I have found in my life? I think that a lot of times, people find themselves in a state of mind that happiness means everything in their life is going as they think it should and that all is well in their world. But that really isn’t the case. Being happy is a choice. Your world could be crashing down around you, but being able to find the silver lining in the cloud or the blessings in disguise means you’ve found genuine happiness. I’ve chosen to be happy because it’s good for my health. I’ve chosen to be happy because being sad really isn’t that fun. I realize there are days or moments when sadness enters our heart, but how awesome is it that we have the choice to take that sadness, whether it be a memory of a loved one that we no longer have on this Earth with us or we wish a situation had turned out differently, and use those moments to remember the good times we had with them or to trust that there is an opportunity that awaits us that will outdo anything we ever even imagined we wanted (that was seriously the longest run on sentence of my life).
I was about an hour early for an appointment today (go figure) so I decided to run through the drive-thru at Starbucks and when it was my turn to pay at the window, I told the cashier I wanted to pay for the person behind me and let me tell you, for the rest of the afternoon I could not stop smiling because I wondered how that person must have felt when they got to the window to pay and the guy told them there was no charge. I LOVE that kind of happiness. This morning at work, we played limbo with the preschoolers and one of my little guys won and I wish all of you could have seen the look in his eyes. He was beyond ecstatic. Seeing how happy he was just melted my heart and for the rest of the day he kept coming up to me, eyes wide as saucers, biggest grin I’d ever seen on his face, and he’d say, “Miss Rachel!! I won!!” I love moments like those. I love that I can be walking through one of the most challenging times of my life, but I have learned the importance of having a happy heart and finding happiness in the little things that are all around me. In every season, in everything, in every moment, happiness can be found.
When I was in DC last week, we spent the entire day sight seeing and it seemed like every time we’d stop at a different monument or memorial, and even at the Arlington National Cemetery, there was an orange butterfly that would land close to me. Towards the end of the day, my cousins and I had gotten back on the bus to be dropped off at our final stop, The White House, and as I sat down inside the bus, I looked over and there sat that orange butterfly, INSIDE the bus. Ever since my aunt passed away in April, my mom and I have said that every time we see a butterfly, it’s my aunt coming to pay us a visit. We see them ALL the time and it’s usually in a moment when we are missing her the most. When I was in DC, we walked past a restaurant called The W where my aunt and cousins had eaten dinner a couple years prior and it really made me get choked up because I started thinking about the fact that her feet had walked in those same places mine were standing and her eyes had seen all the things I was seeing. And then, there was that little orange butterfly and I knew she was there with me. Her body may not be here with me on Earth physically, but the love she gave to me will never leave my heart. It’s forever a part of me. And that’s why I can be happy when I miss her the most.
Find something to be happy about. Make it a choice. Make it part of your daily routine, whatever that may be. Squeeze in some time to stop what you’re doing and just look at what’s going on around you. Notice the old couple holding hands. Notice a child’s laughter. Notice the flowers. Notice the color of the sky. Notice the little things. Do something that you know will make someone else happy and I promise you, you’ll be happier than you thought possible. And don’t forget to pay it forward!