Thursday, 14 June 2012

Happiness

Shalom:

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Abraham Lincoln.


When I was a child, I can honestly say, I wasn't a happy one. Often haunted by an unnamed sadness, moody, depressed and painful afraid of people, often lived in a world found in books or the stories I wrote, creating my own little, not unlike Calvin and Hobbies or C.S Lewis's Narnia.


It really wasn't until my twenties, under the tutelage of a rebbetzin (a rabbi's wife) who told me about the Baal Shem Tov; Master of the Good Name. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), is the founder of the Chassidic movement. It was his belief that joy can be found in every day life; from the rising of the sun, the laugh of a baby, the enjoying of a burger and fries, in the warm embrace of your spouse. In all of these and all of life's moments the Holy One can be found. If we chose to look.
The Baal Shem Tov said: "The ability to be joyous, by discerning the good and joyous within every experience, is considered by chassidim as a biblical command!"
It was from the rebbetzin that I learnt Mr. Lincoln's above quote.
While I can't remember her name, I can still her thick, Boston accent voice; "Miss Elayne, you are much too pretty to go around looking so sad. G-d has given you the gift of Life. Your gift to Him is how you live it. One day you will have to explain to G-d why you don't enjoy your life."
It took several years for me to truly take hold of this truth. But slowly, drip, drip drip. Then like the melting of the White Witch's snow, the joy came to my life, joy that remains.
I found that happiness the Baal Shem Tov spoke of, I found my own Happy Dance.
Happiness isn't based on what is happening in my life. It is based on Who is in my life. The Creator is the Center of my life. Each day is a a gift that is my to open and enjoy.
Life is hard right now. This time last year, Mark and I were going to a local Food Closet. Now, we are having to go to the Food Bank. We thank the Holy One that there is a place to get food. We are blessed with our precious little Montaque who is a joy to all. While we now live on red beans and rice, at least I have my Mark to enjoy them with.
Life is hard. Life is good.
I chose to dance.



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