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Mary's Musings: Happiness Happens Month

By Mary Bridges, chaplain

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB)

I’ve always been a reader, and now I’m a surfer, too. Both reading and surfing the web are ways to keep our brains active and learn new things. Here is a piece of trivia for you: Pamela Gail Johnson, founder of the Secret Society of Happy People, declared August 8, 1999, as “Admit You’re Happy Day.” In 2000, she declared August to be Happiness Happens Month. Her purpose was to encourage people to be happy and to spread their happiness to others.

If only we could wave a magic wand and make everyone happy! For the past 15 years, when it comes time to flip the calendar page to August, my thoughts immediately change. I know in my heart I can’t stop August or the memories that flood my mind. On the 18th of this month, our son Todd was killed in a traffic accident. I recently found this quote by Brother David Steindl-Rast, which has changed the way I think of August: “Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”

According to Happiness International, “Happiness happens to us. Even though we may seek it, desire it; pursue it, etc., feeling happiness is not a choice we make. Joy, on the other hand, is a choice purposefully made.”

This August, I am going to try a new discipline. Every day I’m going to open my heart and mind to reflect on the joy that Todd brought into our lives for 41 years — 15,119 days. As I remember his sparkling brown eyes and his infectious laugh, I will relive all the joy he brought into our lives. I invite each of you to choose joy, practice joy, know joy, live joy and feel happiness.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” (Psalm 30:11, NIV)

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