happiness


the winds of happiness

A short post today. I’m getting ready to go to lunch at a lodge on Lake Michigan. It’s an annual trip for my friends and I.  We love sitting outside overlooking  the lake.  It’s an incredibly beautiful day today with just a hint of the approaching fall. It’s a quiet day.  I always get a little nervous when the day seems to perfect to be true.

Tonight my hubby and I are bringing dinner to our son and his family who live just a couple of blocks away. There Their  lives are hectic and it gives us all a chance to enjoy each other’s company. I’ve already baked the pork roast and pulled the meat for the bbq’s. I’ll bake brownies when I get home.  I’m kind of loving this day but I’m a smart woman. I haven’t successfully beat depression these past nine years without learning a few things.

One of those few things I’ve learned is to be grateful for days like this, to relish the moments but also to be very aware that a perfect day can become an imperfect one in a heartbeat.  It happens all the time.  How many times have we heard people say “everything changed in a heartbeat.” The diagnosis. The accident. The job loss. The death.

I think perhaps a good day is appreciated even more when we just take a moment to realize that others have had days just like this and then “everything changed in a heartbeat”. If that’s you today, please know that there’s someone in Michigan who really does care. Somehow, we are all connected. Maybe that’s why today I feel the tiniest bit anxious, like maybe God is telling me that someone right now is having a really, really hard time. So before I go to lunch, I’m stopping to pray for you , stranger though you are to me.

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dissatisfaction

Aside


Dissatisfaction

Dissatisfaction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

dissatisfaction

My husband and I are at our “teeny-tiny red cabin”.  We bought it nine years ago, move-in ready.  It’s adorable.  We love it.  But it is only about 500 square feet.  That’s fine for the two of us but when family members come for a visit we need more space so two years ago we had local Amish people build our even cuter bunkhouse “LaCabinette”, a 12’ x 16’ building with a porch.  We left all the 2’ x 4’s exposed, walls and ceilings.  We “whitewashed” the peak in a beautiful pale aqua blue and the walls are whitewashed in white.  Except for the futons in both buildings, everything is from thrift shops. Most of the book I’m writing that I mention on my home page was written here. It is a retreat from a very hectic lifestyle and is the most peaceful place I know.

Now that you know how much I love it here, you’ll be surprised at my reaction to what I’m going to tell you.  I’m embarrassed to share this with you but I promised to always be honest. Anyway, my husband and I were talking a walk along the dirt road around the corner from “teeny-tiny red cabin” and we come upon this big, beautiful home under construction. The owner invited us in to look around once he learned we were neighbors. The inside was everything I could imagine, even unfinished. Our teeny-tiny cabin would fit inside the living room alone. My heart yearned.  I was envious.

Why is satisfaction so tenuous?  So fleeting? What makes us perfectly happy with our lives and then whoosh; it’s gone when we see something better? How do we go from being discontent with what we genuinely love to wanting something else? Surely, it can’t be that we don’t realize there’s always something better?

I’m afraid I can only pose the question. I don’t know the answer. I do know though, that dissatisfaction can lead one down some dangerous paths.  It’s easy to go from dissatisfaction in one area in our life and generalize it to other areas in our life. For one prone to depression, that’s not a good thing.

For myself, I’m careful to maintain an attitude of gratefulness because down deep I am very grateful for everyone and everything in my life.  My envy of the beautiful house was very short lived. Do I still love it?  Yes.  Would I love it if it were mine? I think so.  But does my teeny-tiny red cabin still bring me more contentment than anywhere else on earth. Yes. Am I grateful beyond belief? Yes. Was my sudden envy something to be ashamed of? NO!

I’m just human, that’s all.

I once read that one of the ways to avoid purchasing things we don’t need is to look at the things we see in stores as if they were in a museum. Beautiful to look at but not to buy.  That’s what the house around the corner has become for me. Beautiful to look at, but not mine to have.  “Teeny-tiny red cabin” is my piece of heaven and nothing changes that. Should someone buy the lot next to us and build something grand, I’ll go through the usual first pangs of envy and then I’ll come back to “teeny-tiny red cabin” and be glad it’s so small because I can clean it in an hour. So there!

Dissatisfaction can result in good outcomes if our dissatisfaction leads us to make necessary changes. We probably make few significant changes in our lives without some initial dissatisfaction. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I think we all know the difference between dissatisfaction that serves no purpose other than making us envious and dissatisfaction in areas that could lead us to constructive change

There’s a truism I run across all the time-“There is always something to be grateful for—always.”

What about you?  Have you find yourself dissatisfied with something and then realized your mood had taken a nose dive?  What could you do to feel more satisfied with your life? What in your life can you be grateful for?