By Crystal Taylor Krebs: I loved your journal post Dad! It’s neat to get inside your head a little and try to envision what you are seeing first hand every day. I had a weird worry the other day… I was thinking “Man, after all mom and dad see, our little problems here at home won’t seem like nothin.” Then that got me thinking about life n’ happiness and what makes a person happy. It’s clearly not circumstance or environment alone since people with a posh pad or a poor predicament can be equally happy or equally miserable. But there is definitely something to be said about the necessities of life. Shelter. Adequate food. Clothing. Love. When any of those qualities are void, happiness isn’t suddenly the impossible but it takes extra pieces out of our hearts to survive until we get the chance to recover ourselves.
For example, when Louis Zamperini’s plane went down in WW2, he was abandon with 2 others at sea. (1 that died within a few weeks) Starving, exposed to the elements and more alone than he’d ever been, he and his soldier friend fought for their lives on a raft for around 65 days, many times watching planes fly overhead and going unseen and unnoticed in their desperation. Their “rescue” came in the form of a Japanese Prison camp, where Louis spent 2 years being beat, starved, abused and tortured. So where is the happy ending? Well, there is one but he paid a price for his pain and suffering. Mental and emotional scars took years to heal over as he came to terms with forgiveness vs. revenge and later faced all but one of his captors and did much good, devoting his life to God and serving and helping youth.
So when those fortifying elements of happiness are taken out from underneath us, we go into survival mode. We do anything and everything to preserve the heart, many times suffering from the wounds of “our war” after the fact. Some choose to feed off of that bitterness and anger. They trade evil for evil and recreate the environment that once broke a piece of their own soul. But others pick up the pieces of that fragile heart and put it back together… piece by piece, line upon line, until it is once again whole. And they recognize that a whole heart is only obtained through a higher power and greater being than themselves. Hence the reason we can’t save ourselves from ourselves, but we can be rescued, revived and fully recovered by redeeming power, power that is impossible to obtain or create on our own.
So there you have it. Life n’ happiness. One person gripes about bad cell phone reception, long lines at the drive-thru and noisy neighbors on one side of the world. While others cry out for one more meal to get their family through another day or some way to stay safe and secure for one more week. And yet with us all, there is far more than meets the eye. In our society of high demands and high returns, most of us are fortunate enough not to suffer from lack of the necessities. But there are internal illnesses of the heart that spread like wild fire. While our cries may not be as vocal, the disease is equally viral. You just have to believe that we all walk a hard road and respond to that commonality. I may stress over keeping kids fed, content, clean, self-confident and hard working. Someone else may stress over keeping their children from disease, danger, starvation and the jaws of poverty. But either way we can lean on each other and lift each other in our suffering. I guarantee I could learn invaluable life lessons from African moms. I am certain my perspective and positivity would be greatly influenced by their stories and their struggles. And hopefully I would have something that would be of value to them. I believe whatever the background, whatever the life history behind the searching eyes, we all have things to cry about and laugh about. We have all tasted bitterness, resentment, frustration and loneliness. And by God’s grace, I hope we have all tasted something sweet, light, beautiful and satisfying. Happiness is not just a quest. It is a daily pursuit. It is not found one day and gone the next. It is an art created by the heart. And the healthier our soul is, the stronger our heart is. And it is in the strength of the heart, we find the will to survive even the bleakest night. So here’s to us all… God grant us the ability to root our hearts in His love… because it is only through His love any of us will turn darkness into Light.
Me n’ my thoughts, C-tah Krebs