I’ve believed for years that my happiness is driven primarily from within. I’ve known it just as firmly as I know that eating broccoli is good for me. Except that I don’t eat broccoli. I’ve known it, but I haven’t lived it.
This relearned lesson has hit me particularly squarely these last few weeks, as we’ve been returning to normal following Megan’s illness. Amazingly, I’d been able to find an unexpected peace in the middle of the nearly overwhelming fear and stress, a peace I’d never known except during times of great happiness. When your life is stripped down to the bare essentials–faith, and an intense focus on the here and now with those you love–the small daily stresses fall away, and joy can be found in nearly any moment. In fact, the strongest sign that I was emotionally recovering was, ironically, that the daily frustrations were back. I was not happy with their return.
As I’ve resettled into my life, I’ve marveled at how I lost this daily stress during the toughest period of my life. It is no great mystery how: I was focused on what truly mattered, and so much of what makes us miserable simply doesn’t. I think we all know this on some level, but it’s so easy to forget. Well, I don’t ever want to forget again. What a huge loss it would be to lose this hard-won lesson and be less happy now that we’re all home…together, healthy…than when we were living in the hospital. My family deserves better. I deserve better. I will let go of the small stuff. I will seize happiness from the jaws of distress.
“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” –Agnes Repplier