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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Being Blithe, If Not Bonny

Even though a Pacific storm is roaring our way tonight with threats of more snow, I feel the air full of spring. Thus I had to change my picture and title on this blog last week. When I started it, I had that picture of an Oregon coast sunset and the title from a melancholy-sounding Shakespearean sonnet, which perfectly fit my mood at the end of winter. Now things look better, and my blog has to reflect my feelings.

My daughter has struggled to find happiness. Today she phoned, having just come home from a short trip to a far-away place, and she sounded completely happy. I asked about her trip. She met Someone. You could hear the glow in her voice. I was happy for her.

The serendipitous happiness is not the kind I wish for her though. I want her to have the kind that lasts, that peeks out from behind your troubles and assures you it'll be back in a minute or three, as soon as you take care of the things that are incompatible with it.

My theory is that true happiness is a choice, not a surprise. You obtain it by living according to principles that produce more and more of it, and then you start to understand how life works to bring you that wonderful feeling whenever you want to feel it. I find it in obeying the eternal principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that not everybody believes the same way I do, and they can find happiness by obeying the principles that inside them they know to be right. It is only by obeying eternal principles that the greatest happiness is in store. That's what heaven will be: the greatest happiness. (Don't get me started on boring eternities of harp-playing; music is great, but I do believe in variety.)

Having to choose happiness doesn't mean you don't get the sudden bursts from the lovely surprises too. They are the icing on the cake.

When Shakespeare wrote that song in Much Ado About Nothing with the line "Be you blithe and bonny"--he was telling us to do something about happiness, not to just wait around hoping to feel it. Be it.

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