So, now that I’ve told you all the beginnings of my divorce and my innermost thoughts, let’s move on.
I’m standing in my bathroom scrubbing the toilet (you’ll notice most of my thinking happens in the bathroom and kitchen) and wondering what the hell am I going to put in this gaping hole. I wish the answer was something simple like, a rosebush, but when the hole is part of your soul, you have to get a bit more creative.
Then like a rush, God spoke to me. I’ll intercept here (excerpt from my heart):
I believe in God but like I told a friend the other day, “God is whoever you think he is. For some little old Japanese man on fishing boat in Okinawa, he’s may be Buddha. The Muslim, Allah. The Jew, Yeswah. For me, my Father. There is only one thing that God is absolutely not and that is, limited.” So, I’ll continue.
He didn’t speak to me in a powerful voice or even my own voice for that matter (which he sometimes does). He spoke to me through the words of others, which actually doesn’t come as a surprise given my obsession with words. The most interesting part of this entire scenerio is the context under which it occurred. So, I’ll back up. Two nights ago I am on the phone with this guy. I would call him my friend but that isn’t really his rightful title seeing as I have only known him a few weeks, and half of that he spent hiking through the hills of Canada. So, I’ve known this guy, really, for about a week. I’ll decline to mention where I met him, but assure you it was not on some freaky website or in a therapy group. The main premise in our talking revolved around something like dating, something like that. We’re phone conversing, and really I’m annoyed with him from the get-go, he’s way too nonchalant for me, reminds me of my ex-husband. Then suddenly he stops—“Ms. whit. ing. addict I sense you’re not happy. I went through a rough time during my twenties too. Take some time and find out who you are, find out what makes you happy.” I was pissed. First, I don’t like being told what I am and what I am not. Second, this guy has no clue what I’m going through. His “rough” twenties probably involved five bongs and a pound of cannabis. Plus, he’s thirty six, no kids, no marriage, balding, what does he know? So, I hung up the phone and went to bed with a huge grudge, one that was still lingering the next morning.
To top it all off, this guy works directly across the street from me. So, I spend my morning walk trying to dodge a chance meeting with Mr. Be Happy. Then I get to work and start working, all day. At lunch I pull up one of my favorite inspirational blogs and I read this, “Happy people are Beautiful.” There were God’s words, in the writings of my fellow blogger/burn victim (83 percent of her body was burned in a plane crash). I thought maybe there’s some power to that and I kept working. Mr. Be Happy must think I’m a troll according to this philosophy.
On my walk home I’m finishing up my book and I read these words, “Ms. whit. ing. addict, you tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, you strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never be lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s east enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”
Through the manifestations of God I realize I’ve been doing it all wrong. I’ve been like a little kid waiting for a boost, “Come on, lift me up to my happy life. I wanna see it. If you give me sucker or an icecream cone, then I’ll be happy.” There he is in heaven, or wherever he lives, “Child, child—you’ve got to lift yourself up. You’re big enough now that with a little effort you can get there on your own. Don’t worry though, I’ll be right behind you, making sure you don’t fall on your ass. You’ve got to learn to be happy with what you have. Sometimes icecream isn’t what you need. Sometimes you need to get your ass to the gym.”
We’re here to bless others, to help others, and that requires personal happiness. So, as part of my efforts towards self-revelation I have made the decision to dispel any and all negative thoughts I’ve felt for Mr. Be Happy. Instead, I think I’ll join him in his bliss. No more putting on makeup and pretending to be happy. It only covers the blemishes and then each night, when you wash it off your face, you’re back to where you began. What you really need is a solid beauty cream, one that penetrates, working from the inside out.
Hopefully, at the end of this journey, I’ll still be striving for self-content, “insisting upon it.” I’m looking down into that huge hole I’ve dug. I know what I’m going to fill it up with, happiness. Although, that doesn’t happen without continuing to work through the painful, difficult things, that’s part of insisting upon it, striving for it, and knowing what it truly is. You can never know the good without first knowing the bad.