Four coats of muted yellow paint took to two of our dark, drab wooden pub chairs, and now reside smack dab in the middle of the living room. The HBH took one look at them, and with raised eyebrows responded, “Well, those are …bright.”
Yes, they are.
DIY aside (because, honestly, a little bit of color can create quite the low-cost transformation), ever since reading the book, The Happiness Project, I’ve been chewing on this whole idea of happiness: can we actually create happiness in our lives? Can happiness be a by-product of the environment around us? What, then, does it mean to be happy?
Now here’s the deal: the book wasn’t my favorite, mostly because I’m not the biggest fan of (author) Gretchen Rubin’s voice. While happiness, to me, does not involve a check-off list of items to do in order that an ultimate sunny, cheerful end goal might be achieved, there’s no doubt that the book’s overall theme has stayed with me, making me think and wonder and ponder happiness in our little corner of the world.
Because, let me be honest: this past year has been good-hard. It’s been good in every sense of the way: welcoming a growing Cancan into this world, passing on the baton in Young Life, and pursuing my writing passion. But it’s also been hard. Staying at home with a little one can be lonely, as well as the solitary occupation of writing in general; parenthood is not for the faint at heart, and the HBH and I have had our share of growing pains along the way. And, there’s been a whole lot of starting over and reinvesting in relationships, as we settle into life in San Francisco, away from the Peninsula, where the crux of ministry and life used to reside.
Life can be hard. But it’s also so, so good.
It’s brutiful – brutal and beautiful, all at the same time – as author Glennon Melton Doyle would say.
So, here, I suppose, is the crux of it all: if I believe that life is good-hard, and that the concept of happiness is either there or it’s not there, then surely regardless of what we do, of the check-off lists we seek to check off in order to attain rainbows and lollipops and sunshine, I can at least take a look at my own attitude, which lies at the root of it all.
When I was an old schoolmarm, my students would crank out whines like this: Whyyyyyy-eeeee do we have to write this 500 word essay?
In all my wisdom and dignity, I’d respond, “Oh, you mean why do you get to write this 500 word essay?” and launch into all the paper’s advantages.
So, for me, this whole idea of happiness resides in the same boat: I get to stay home with this little Cancan-man, one blessed, good-hard minute at a time. I get to pursue writing, one finicky finger tap at a time. And I get to further step into the skin and bones of who I was destined to be, by the One who made and created me.
And that, I suppose, is why I painted my chairs yellow: to further remind me of my own attitude’s choice in the matter. Because when I catch a glimpse of sunshine popping out from the other side of the room, I’m reminded to let go. To not take myself so damn seriously. To lighten up and smile and giggle and play with the Little Man, to choose an attitude of airiness, remembering that even if life is hard, it’s still good.
I’m letting a little sunshine in.
What about you? Is happiness a choice? How do you let sunshine into your life?