“Yes, just as life has its joys, it has also its struggles. But focusing more on the struggles can rob you of pure and simple joys of daily living.”
Here’s an inspiring quote from Brigitte Nicole:
“One thing I’ve learned in my life is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Many people want to move away and start a new life in search of happiness...But, happiness is not a new city, a new home, or a new backyard, with hopes of greener grass. Happiness is something you must find right in your own backyard.”
For most people, happiness is something that is yet to come, a destination after the journey, or an end-goal after hurdling the struggle. There are those who are sadly not contented with the “here” because they’re waiting for the “there” to arrive.
Some, too, are more focused on appreciating what their peers have or on the successes of others, while grieving their own lack and failing to recognize their unique strengths or potential. Or still, others are tad wont to just sulk and wait for happiness to come on the morrow, but are deprived of the immanent and unrepeatable joys of the moment.
Yes, just as life has its joys, it has also its struggles. But focusing more on the struggles can rob you of pure and simple joys of daily living. Besides, as Nightbirde – the lady contestant who, despite her terminal cancer, won the golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent with her original song, It’s Okay – bitingly quipped: “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
(For online: See also: Simon Cowell's golden buzzer Nightbirde preaches being happy despite tragedies brings miracles )
Verily, happiness is not just a destination, it is enjoying the present journey. Happiness is not tomorrow or “there” in your “neighbor’s backyard”, but it’s right “here” and now in your own home, in your own heart. Happiness is not what others have or what you will have, it is what you have now – your God-given abilities and the pure and simple joys of ordinary living.
For me and my wife, as we’re marching closely towards our senior age, we have learned to embrace with gratitude and enjoy on a regular basis some of everyday life’s simple joys or blessings, like –
1. Having our regular morning sunshine and walk-jog exercise through a green field with trees. This is certainly healthy and priceless.
2. While on our leisure walk-jog outside, we never fail to cherish and appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings, the relative peace and serenity, the sun, the fresh air, the blue sky, the formations of clouds, the vibrant plants and trees, the smiles and simple greetings of people that we meet, the refreshing sight of other people – young and old – biking, walking or jogging – all of which proclaim the wonder of nature and majesty of God.
3. Spending a regular time in prayer, which we dubbed “Whiling away with God”, before the Blessed Sacrament in the church. This keeps us blessed and assured of our inner peace.
4. Hugging each other tightly and sleeping peacefully at night. This makes me and my wife one and complete, safe and secure.
5. Keeping in constant touch or connecting (through phone or social media), saying fond hellos or kumustahan, with our children and grandchildren who are living separately, and knowing that they are fine, safe, healthy, and free from sickness and harm. This is truly worth exuding a grateful heart.
6. As sort of family bonding, while dining outside is yet subject to some restrictions, watching movies on TV together with our children at home. The fun is genuinely memorable.
7. For my part, being able to regularly write for this column, Inspired & Blessed. It’s realizing my lofty purpose to give hope to others as to remain hopeful myself, to share life’s learnings and lessons as to learn from others too, to inspire others as to be inspired myself, and to bless others as I am blessed.
Plus, of course, not to mention the other little but important things most of us have – waking up fresh and healthy everyday, having enough to eat or meeting our needs, being free from sickness or harm, looking through old photos for meaningful moments, enjoying the simple expressions of love between family and friends, watching children play, a leisure stroll in a park, etc.
Khalil Gibran cannot be more right when he wrote: “In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things, the heart finds it morning and is always refreshed.”
But, no mistake about it, I’m not discounting the exigency or profoundness of dreams or desired goals to be achieved. While goals and dreams are certainly beneficial, our insatiable desires to have more can often leave us feeling dissatisfied and resentful. Our incessant striving to get further ahead removes us from joy and gratitude in the present moment.
Whereas, regardless of struggles and achievements, it is worth noting that these pure and simple joys that we deserve to have are all FREE! Resonant to Luther Vandross’ classic song, “The Best Things In Life Are Free”, these pure and simple joys are indeed God-given and are all for our taking.
What are these, and which money can’t buy? Love. Family and friends. Health. Safety. Hugs, smiles and laughter. Happy memories. Sleep. Inner peace. Time. Truth. Manners or class. Trust. Respect. Presence. Acceptance. Etc.
The key to having these blessings of pure and simple joys is GRATITUDE. The simple ritual of thanking God, thanking yourself, thanking significant others every morning can do wonders for your life.
As David Steindl-Rast aptly puts it: “We have thousands of opportunities everyday to be grateful: having a good weather, to have slept well last night, being able to get up, being healthy, having enough to eat...There’s opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that’s what life is.”
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