Surely most people are vulnerable for the longing to be happy. I get a glimpse of this and understand the willingness to look all over the place for this treasure. But I so catch myself in my own life too –forgetting that the last place most folks look is right under their feet, in their everyday activities, accidents, and encounters. What possible significance could there be in a trip to the post office? How could something as common as shoveling snow or washing your dishes, walking your dog, or having a tooth filled be a door to greater happiness? I think it can and I think ‘thankfulness’ is the X that marks the spot and one I often cannot see because I am standing right on it. When that’s the case, this kind of happiness requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special companions; just the willingness to imagine I have everything I need and offer the consent to be right where I am, thankfully. So easy, so simple, but can be so hard.
Perhaps the Kingdom of God shares some similar qualities of the X marks the spot, thankfulness, and ‘simplicity’ but also similarly challenging to embrace and appreciate. I think of it this way, when people asked Jesus, really questioned Him about what was God’s realm really like, He told them stories about their own lives. When people asked Him to tell them God’s truth about something, He asked them what they thought. With all kinds of opportunities to tell them how to think, He often told them what to do instead. Wash feet. Love your neighbor. Give your stuff away. Pray for those who are out to get you. Be thankful for what you have. In essence be God’s love where you are and be that to whatever is right in front of you. Stop where your feet are for a moment, look around. What can you be thankful for? What can you do from right there? It’s there happiness will reveal itself, it always has.
Jennifer Profitt is a visiting retreat leader at Oldenburg Franciscan Center. She will facilitate Fear and Moving Forward on Saturday, January 25th. 9:30 – 2:30. $45 includes program & lunch. CEUs are available for counselors for an additional $20. Visit our website to register online, or call 812-833-6437, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.