Have you ever heard yourself saying things like the phrases below?
“I’ll be happy when I get out of high school.”
“I’ll be happy when I get a job!”
“I’ll be happy when I get married!””
“I’ll be happy when I have a baby!”
“I’ll be happy when my baby can talk!”
“I’ll be happy when my child goes to school!”
“I’ll be happy when my kid is on her own.”
“I’ll be happy when I can retire…”
The list goes on and on and suddenly we’re old and wondering where all the years went.
There is a beautiful teaching story entitled “The Fourth Wise Man”. It is also in movie form of that last wise man and his adventures on the way; and what happened to him.
There is a story we loved to hear Dr. Bob tell about “the traveler and the tripper”. So the tripper is the one who could not recognize where he was and what, if anything, he could do or what was of value in that moment he was in. Therefore he missed out on a lot that life had to offer.
On the other hand, the traveler was aware of “what was going on” in his day and was contributive to it in whatever way he saw to do that. Dr. Bob even gave us a hint of what he found to be of value and that was to not make anything important and to do, what to him, was being a good guest.
He also said he would not be harmful to another and the main two of those was he would not commit violence on another and would not agree with them that they were a victim.
And finally, he said he could make a little contribution to a pleasant mood—but any contribution would be small and usually pretty easy. In this way, we don’t get all caught up in thinking we know what ought to be for everyone and everything.
I found these ideas very valuable after the flood when I stayed with my daughter, then my sister and also my son – all in different states, different households, and different lifestyles. I could be respectful of their values and not impose my own. I found all of them very helpful in assisting me with the blindness to independently take care of my needs. What more could I ask for.
So the point for me is to be happy where I am. Within that idea is to recognize when I’m setting a goal for some time in the future. It creates dissatisfaction with where and what we are in the present.
Perhaps it is more realistic to see that I want to aim and go in a direction and see where it leads.
Many see “happy” as a permanent state; but as I observe, it comes and goes and often depends on my attitude. Nice reason to keep my mood up!
And so I share this little story that illustrates very nicely what I want to remember and share with you.
Donkey story regarding happiness
There’s a story told that a man’s donkey wandered off in the middle of the night; and, therefore, he had to carry his knapsack down the road on his own shoulder. He didn’t have his donkey to ride in the middle of the day.
Then he met a stranger in the heat, and he told him how miserable everything was. He was so unhappy because he lost the donkey and now he was having to walk and carry his knapsack on his back. So the stranger to whom he was telling all this story to, invited him to come sit in the shade with him. The stranger said just leave your knapsack there – – we’ll sit over here in the shade and refresh ourselves. I have some water with me in a canteen.
So the stranger gave him a drink and the guy was carrying on, still just as miserable as he could be.
Suddenly, the stranger got up, grabbed the knapsack and ran off with it. The guy, now, was in one terrible state.
Meanwhile, the stranger slipped into the bushes and waited a little bit until he saw the guy coming. Then he laid the knapsack out in the road; and when the guy found it there, he was very happy.
So the stranger came out and said, “Now – you were unhappy because you didn’t have a donkey.” “Then you lost your knapsack, and now you’re happy because you found your knapsack even though you’re in the same boat you were in when the donkey wandered off.”
So you see, it’s really very simple to decide that we will have a different viewpoint, but if I choose to be a victim, I am obviously what the world calls unhappy, right?
Now if I’m doing something, I don’t think about whether I’m happy or not, but I have a certain amount of satisfaction in doing or being on the way to doing. I’m now in motive, and I quit thinking about being happy.
So we tell people if you are trying to be happy, we’ll guarantee you’ll be miserable. I don’t know whether you’ll ever be happy or not, but if you forget all about trying to be happy, you wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world.
Happiness is that proverbial thing—the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you can’t find. It’s the bluebird saying that “you can have your wishes if you can sprinkle salt on the bluebird’s tail.” So in other words, it’s an illusion. It’s a joke played on mankind, and most of us have bought it. We’re trying to be happy, and who knows what it means – – and why bother with it anyway.
If there is such a thing, I’m sure it’s a byproduct of not giving a ‘durn’ about being happy—if there is even such a thing. Who wants it anyway, it may be that all you would do is sit under a shade tree and vegetate.