Finding happiness

Pause For Thought column with Pastor Todd English of Barriere, B.C.

What is happiness? How do we get it? Money, power, passion or the accumulation of things?

About the only one that makes remote sense is passion, but even there it can be hollow if it isn’t part of a larger pattern of choosing to live life to the fullest and not letting anyone or anything control your happiness!

You can be broke and hungry and still have happiness, or at least some contentment to a degree.

On a supply trip down to Mexico to deliver school supplies, I found people in situations we could never tolerate happy and content. They did not let their finances, or even their history define their joy in just being alive!  Many actually saw our affluence as a hindrance to true contentment as it became a pursuit that could never be filled, as there is always more money and things out there.

True peace is taking charge of your own joy and true happiness and is found in making opportunities where most only see tragedy.

Hope for the hopeless is seen with Daniel and Joseph, who were both imprisoned and yet found ways to have hope in their life and even to have hope for others.

If we, who have so many good things in our lives and live in in a country with rights and freedoms cannot find joy, peace or happiness, how can we see it for others?  How can someone who has known only good health understand the struggles of someone who is sick or has suffered the loss of a loved one, especially the loss of a child?

We choose it.  Or as a quote from Hector and the search for happiness says, “We all have an obligation to be happy”.

Instead of looking at all the nastiness in life as a place to despair, we should find a way to bring happiness with us and let it radiate out.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”, said Martin Luther King Jr.

Some may think I have no right to speak on this as I have a good life, and the truth is I do!

But I have also seen adversity. I suffered a spinal cord injury in 2008 which was classified as an incomplete injury, as I regained most of the use afterwards.

As I lay unable to do anything for myself by myself I had someone ask me why I was still happy and able to encourage others when they thought they would be angry and hate God for it?

All I could say was, “I have so much there isn’t room for anger.”

The truth is I had my down moments, yet I chose happiness over all.

Faith was a big part of that, and the rest was the thought that we need to be an example to the next generation to not give up!  Choose to overcome every adversity and every dark moment  – happiness is a choice.