Be Happy Now

happy_placeThere is no best time to be happy than right now. I mean we can be happy anytime we want. Sadly though, our world is  increasingly becoming victim of “the best is yet to come” syndrome. Too many of us have developed a habit of putting our happiness on hold until when the time is “right” for us.

Instead of getting on with enjoying life, most of us wait until that “perfect moment” –  after finishing school, after getting a job, after getting married, after getting divorce, on Christmas day, after getting children, when my children are fully grown up  and have their own families, when I get a car , after moving into your own house, when I’m financially independent, after having grand children,  when I finally get to heaven… before you know it your time is up!

Of course this is not a ” non stop pleasure – life is short – you live only once ” banter. This is deeper than that. It’s being grateful, happy  and making the most of your life regardless of what kind of life are you having.

If the truth is to be told you’ll never get a perfect moment to celebrate your life because every time you are about to enjoy your life something else will crop up that tempts you to push a pause button.

Alfred D. Souza couldn’t have said it any better; “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

A fulfilled dream is a source of life, the scripture says, but deferred hope leads to a broken heart. (Proverbs 13:12).

Depression  results  from a  pathogenic thought  that  certain life experiences –  regardless  of  when they happen –  are  both  bad and unnecessary. Depressed people are victims of their own thoughts.They entertain negative thoughts about something that happened in the  past,  about  something  currently  happening  or  about  the unknown future. Having great expectation about your future but still nurse guilt and resentment about your past or present life circumstances does not help.

In fact,  new  study   published  recently shows  that  even  depressed individuals  believe  in  a  brighter  future.  It turns out  that  even  clinically  depressed  individuals  are  also characterized by the belief that one’s life in the future will be more satisfying than one’s past and current life. But this sentiment don’t extend to their beliefs about the past and present. The results shows that adults who had a history of depression tended to evaluate their past and current lives in more negative terms than did adults without depression. “And this pattern of beliefs appears to be a risk factor for future depression, even over a 10-year  period”,  Says  Michael  Busseri,  a  psychological  scientist  and lead researcher of Brock University in Canada.

In his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Dr. Victor Frankyl tells a story of a man known as “ F”, a fellow prisoner at the Nazi concentration camp  who  confided  in  him  one  day: “I  would  like  to  tell  you something, Doctor. I have had a strange dream. A voice told me that I could wish for something, that I should only say what I wanted to know, and all my questions would be answered. What do you think I asked? That I would like to know when the war would be over for me. You know what I mean, Doctor—for me! I wanted to know when our camp would be liberated and our sufferings come to an end.”

“And when did you have this dream? Dr. asked. “In February, 1945,” he answered. It  was then the beginning of  March.”What did your dream  voice  answer?”  Furtively  he  whispered ,  “March thirtieth”. When F told Frankyl about his dream, he was still full of hope and convinced that the voice of his dream would be right. But as the promised day drew nearer, the war news which reached our camp made it appear very unlikely that we would be free on the promised date.

On March twenty-ninth, F suddenly became ill and ran a high temperature. On March thirtieth, the day his prophecy had told him that  the  war  and  suffering  would  be  over  for  him,  he  became delirious and lost consciousness. On March thirty-first, he was dead.To all outward appearances, he had died of typhus.

Dr.  Frankyl,  a  renowned  Physician  himself  later  said,  “  The ultimate cause of my friend’s death was that the expected liberation did  not  come  and  he  was  severely  disappointed.  This  suddenly lowered his body’s resistance against the latent typhus infection. His faith in the future and his will to live had become paralyzed and his body fell victim to illness—and thus the voice of his dream was right after all. “

 Am I sympathizing with the Sadducee sentiment – that  there is no life after death and therefore hope is pointless? Not at all. If anything, I’m a 3D believer.

Typically, most of us believe that life can only get  better.   We  believe  today  is  better  than  yesterday  and tomorrow will be even better than today.  So do I. In fact, I believe more than that. I believe there is life – even better life – after this present life. But I also believe in the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

If we develop a pathological attitude of hating our today in the expense of our tomorrow chances are we’ll  never ever enjoy our life. No one has ever seen tomorrow. Every time tomorrow comes we call it ‘today’.  Worse  still, even when  tomorrow  finally comes it might never turn out to be the way we expect it to be. When this happens we soon realise our best moments are already behind us. Consequently, we become resentful for missing the opportunity to enjoy our “good old days”  as we should.

 Most  of  us  carry unrealistic  expectations  that  are  based  on human misinformation. Hope based  on  human  information  is  potentially  disappointing.  Since God’s love lasts forever the only hope that never disappoints is that which is rooted in God’s love. What this means in practice is that unfailing  hope is  based on  the  understanding that  God –  the  all – powerful and with unquestionable everlasting love – can never plan and  allow any experience to be part of my life unless it  has eternal good.

For me, this is the fabric of what I call a Three Dimensional (3D) Attitude.

A 3D attitude sees life  from God’s  perspective,  through the lens of God’s  love.  3D  attitude counts  each experience  –  past,  present  or future – as uniquely the best in its own right and yet harmoniously interconnected with each other to form one beautiful eternal life.

A person wearing a 3D attitude strongly believes whatever God let happen yesterday, whatever  He’s allowed to happen today and  whatever  God still has in store   –  no  matter  how  it  feels  –  is distinctively  valuable.

I strongly believe that every life moment has sweet and sour facets.Though different, both parts are equally precious. The sweet bit of life makes us feel fulfilled and therefore enjoy our life more. The sour bit makes us twitch for a moment, but is equally good because it  serves  as  a  seed  of  future  sweet  moments.  Today’s  sour  is tomorrow’s  sweet. Without  a  doubt,  tomorrow will  be better  and different  in  many ways,  but  the bitter  moments  of  the  past  and present are the ones that will make it so.

Every situation has a brighter  side,  no matter  how dark it  might seem to be. The secret to true joy, therefore, is to keep your eyes on the brighter side of life. And in the occasion when you’re forced to glare at the life’s dark side put on the 3D glasses of God’s love.

Today, may you receive the strength to override your  habit of kicking the can of your joy into the long grass of the future. My the Lord grant you the grace to celebrate your precious memories, the humility to appreciate your present moments and divine vision to see your bright future.

Amen

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