I’ll admit the last couple weeks have been difficult. I won’t get into it all, but suffice it to say that LIFE has certainly been at play!
We all go through things. Everyone has a story. And while I’m a very happy and healthy person at heart I admit that sometimes I wonder about THE WHY a bit too much. Like, WHY is this person so mean to me – they don’t even know me? WHY is this person acting like this – it’s just making everyone unhappy? WHY did this happen to ME?
I’m never very proud of the WHY moments. After all, we have so much in this country and you can always find someone that has it worst than you. Still, I guess it’s human nature to wallow just a little bit. Even Jesus was sad at times, and in order to feel the full spectrum of human emotion, you’ve got to allow yourself to feel the good and bad. That’s why God created us the way we are. He didn’t want robots – He wanted HUMANS.
So often when I’m feeling down I turn to poetry. Either writing it or reading the works of others. I got a copy of ten poems to change your life again & again by Roger Housden for Christmas, and first cracked it open a few days ago. It gave me exactly the comfort and insight I needed to get beyond the sadness I’ve felt and get back to the business of happiness.
On page 79 Housden shares, “A Brief for the Defense” by Jack Gilbert. At the first few lines I question his choice:
“Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in the nostrils.”
I’m confused by this choice, as it only serves to underscore my bleak outlook. But I’ve read Housden’s collections before, and I trust him to get to the point. He soon does just that:
“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.”
It is our birthright to be happy. I often forget that in my own life, because there has been much sadness in it which had nothing at all to do with my choices and everything to do with the choices of those around me. Things that happened to me growing up and also a few that have happened recently have made me forget that it is our birthright to be happy. And if others selfishly bring you down, cause you problems, slander your good name, tell lies about you that (remarkably) people seem to believe…. it is THEIR issue. God will deal with them so we don’t need to think about them twice.
But just because happiness is our birthright doesn’t mean we don’t also have to fight for it. If you’re like me, you might even roll your eyes at people that are TOO HAPPY. People that refuse to allow the sadness in feel as one dimensional to me as people that are constantly negative. In the end, I guess it’s all about balance. But not the good on one end of the scale and the bad perched at an equal height. I think good should always get the advantage.