What makes you happy – I know what makes me happy (or joyful)

Some would argue that “happy” is short-termed bliss lacking in depth, tenacity and nuance. The better word, pundits say, is “joyful” or “joyous”. I do agree that “joy” carries a solid ring to it. It rests on a foundation of significance, purpose and transcendent supremacy. It is deep rooted and can be inexhaustible. Having joy is far superior to having happiness.

Lasting joy flows from Jesus’ resurrection, three days after his sacrificial death on the cross for the redemption of humanity – resulting from God’s ultimate gift of unconditional love. This we commemorate on Easter, a powerful reminder of the Father’s unfailing promise and our restoration to His glory.

Now back to being “happy”. Nothing wrong with that, if it makes good and sound sense. I am very thankful for happy moments, as well, because they emanate from God’s blessings. Blessings are like a cold breeze on a blistery day; or the trickle of ice-cold water on parched throat, or the fragrance of a rose bloom. I share with you here some insights or thoughts of what makes me happy – in the hopes that you, too, would find your happy or joyful moments. They are blessings to be grateful for.

Still about Easter — I hold precious memories of Easter in Pennsylvania when I was an exchange student in my teens. My host Mom sewed for the three girls in the family lovely Easter dresses in pastels, complete with matching hats that she herself designed and made. Mine was a pink linen suit tailored in the Jackie Kennedy fashion. Large dark pink buttons accented the front of the blouse that doubled as an overcoat. It was so stylish that wearing it made me feel like a young model. I wore it all day, and I wanted to sleep in it till the morrow. I also remember the little children in church; girls in their dainty colorful chiffon, cotton, and organdy frocks, and boys smartly attired in their suits with tiny bow ties. After an hour of sitting prim, pretty and proper in church, the children scampered out into the church courtyard and garden to hunt for the much-awaited Easter eggs hidden by the Easter bunny. I cheered for the young hunters along with the families, but I strained to hold myself from cluing my favorite little ones on where the colored eggs were hiding. Remembering that glorious Easter day in Jeannette, Pennsylvania makes me happy.

Fast forward to Easter two days hence. I can imagine my eight-year-old grandson scavenging for Easter eggs that he and his Mom and family friend cooked and colored the Saturday before. Of course, grandson would be exempted from hiding them; that would take out the fun of hunting, wouldn’t it? As I write this, I am smiling happily in the thought of him holding up a decorated basket heaping with Easter eggs after the hunt, just like last year. He is very good at this game, you see. He can quickly spot bright colors among the greens and the browns in the yard. I can imagine his Dad and Mom smiling proudly as they watch him stack up on his treasure, and as my grandson offers the encumbered little kids some of his precious booty. This picture makes me happy.

Three days ago, I was happy that I Facetimed with my daughter who gave me useful advice about my taxes and even helped me decipher through certain exigencies of tax reporting. There are some things not clear to me, and like other baby boomer parents, it delights me that our children become our teachers. Well, this teacher is coming to visit sometime this month, and that makes me happy. And more, she gets to chauffeur me to long distance places, like my son and his family’s home an hour away. Funny, isn’t it, an hour away isn’t too far away, but as a new driver (since my husband passed) I try to stay clear of busy freeways. So, someone driving for me makes me happy.

Easter Sunday is a big event at my sister’s place. She has ferried the tradition of hosting lunch for family and friends on Easter day. It’s a fun gathering with relatives and friends we haven’t seen in quite a while. And of course, the food offerings in the semi-potluck are always fabulous. My mouth waters as I think about Easter lunch. My contribution is my favorite Honeybaked ham – and ugh, I’ll need to line up around the block to pick it up before Easter. It’ll be wise to get it days before, and make sure there’s room for it in my frig. But I’m still happy.

Last night, I heard from a couple I hadn’t seen in over two years. They wanted to invite me for lunch or dinner at their home. With much delight, I accepted the invitation. Except that … oh, they knew. So they offered to pick me up from home and back. I don’t need to navigate freeways to dine at their house next week. Very considerate of them – and more remarkable … I get to spend time with them and exchange some updates. Old friends are treasures. I’m happy to see them again.

You can tell – what makes me happy (or joyful). In a capsule: faith, family, friends … and ah yes, food!

Tomorrow is Good Friday – I hope you find time for deep reflection and prayer.

And after that — happy or joyous Easter everyone!

Linda P. Jacob

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