This morning I put on a cute spring skirt with some adorable open toed shoes. I walk out my door and soak in the scenery. Walking down the steps I notice a red tulip blooming in my flower bed. It stands straight with pride almost as if she is stating good morning. I make it to my car and my car reads 58 degrees. I shiver in anticipation of the warm day ahead of me. Yesterday was in the 80s and I am certainly ready for another warm one. Driving, I can’t help but smile as I listen to my favorite song. This is me experiencing happiness. I am on time and I have plenty of time to spare. It is at least three full minutes before the tardy bell rings. If you ask the attendance clerk she will tell you this is not normal. I really need to work on that, anyway that’s another story for another day.
In the school drive I tell my little boy the usual, “I love you and remember you are amazing”. On my way to my office, about 12 miles into my drive and all of the sudden out of nowhere I see clouds. Dark thick clouds surround me as if I have angered them in some way. The warmth is instantly all gone. My car now reads 48 degrees and it seems to be dropping. I arrive at my office and my skirt is no longer cute and my open toed shoes are also no longer adorable.
I would be happy if the temperature was 100 degrees all year round. I would be happy if there was sunshine 24 hours a day. I would be happy if the tardy bell was at 9:05 instead of 8:05. I would be happy if I could wear a spring skirt and open toed shoes every day of the year.
Today I get a call from a gentleman and he leaves a message on my voice mail, “Mrs. Elia I really hate to bother you but I heard you could help me. I just haven’t had any luck with work and we could really use some food. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough to get rid of this hunger”. I begin to reconsider what makes me happy. I go on to my next message, “Hi Elena, my counselor said you might help me. My little girl is in elementary school and she is always worried about who is going to pick her up. My husband left us and I couldn’t pay the car anymore so I lost it to repo. ” I am suddenly happy that I have a car. I go on to my emails. My first email is from an educator and she is asking for coats. She has three students that have been removed from the parents care and now live with their grandmother. The little girl is 9 just a year younger than my sweet boy. It doesn’t take long before I am again happy that my boy has a nice warm coat. The other two children are boys, one is 6 and the other is 5 both happy to be at school even though they struggle with the cold weather. These babies are cold and I am worried about open toed shoes.
Today I am certain of one thing. If we cannot find happiness in the place we are now, we certainly will not find it in a new job, with more money, in a new car or a bigger house.
Something that resonates with me after speaking with my families today is that they all had one thing in common. Even while speaking of their struggles they were all grateful. They were grateful for the things they did have and all happy to have another day to make a go at it. I can still hear the happiness in their voice as we visited. They were happy that they mattered. They were happy for the basics like water, food and a roof over their heads.
Happiness will look different from now on……
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition”