Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

As I sit here writing, I'm also watching a video on happiness (the PBS series "This Emotional Life").  I've read several books on the topic as well, and it seems that there is a movement in the fields of economics, psychology, and biology to quantify, hypothesize, investigate, and explain what makes us happy and how.  Coming from a place in my life where I felt a lot of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and well, depression, these studies have been interesting to me.

But the most fascinating revelation was this morning.  After the usual harried chaos of the morning routine (i.e. sending off the kids), I decided to take a break.  I took a long shower, put dinner in the crockpot, and set off for a walk on the trail by our house.  I walked a little, prayed a little, hiked a bit, and reflected by the creek.  I came back to a house filled with good cooking smells, and sat down to catch up on email, facebook, and a little writing.  It is thundering now, so it appears I made it back just in time.  In a few minutes I'll need to pack up lunches and go pick up the kids from preschool, but for now there's peace...and contentment...and happiness.

It's been such a long jourrney to get here.  The things that I thought would bring happiness (job success, marriage, kids, a house, financial security) have been steps along the route, but my true arrival has been the realization that I have to take the time to enjoy it.  The motions of life are busy and often frustrating.  There's an endless to-do list and I often feel responsible for solving the kids' bouts of boredom, unhappiness, and general unease.  I feel a push to be doing constantly, which should lead to the satisfaction of getting things done, but usually just reminds me of how much more there is to do.

There is a joy in being still.  There is contentment in counting the many blessings I have.  There is hope in praying for those I love.  There is peace, and in that peace I find happiness here.  In the moment.  In rest.

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