Monday, May 09, 2011


I will dare to dream
I will dare to believe in something, baby, and
I will dare to be
~ Carolyn Arends

I guess "Happy" (This Much I Understand, 1999) has been my theme song these past couple days.  These past couple years?  This whole span of my life (at least since I first heard it in '99)?  Happy, happy, happy.  Why am I so darn happy?  "It is pretty annoying," my husband will say, echoing the rhetorical query at the beginning of the song.  He thinks I'm happy because I am oblivious.  Maybe a wee bit . . . in some ways; but, I feel deeply, think vigorously, and act accordingly.  Yet, overall, every day, with some landmark exceptions, the emoticon of my life is the happy-go-lucky smiley face.   

Some people are just naturally happier than others.  I read that once.  Let's see, it was in a John Stossel book that I think I have since sold back to Half Price Books.  I distinctly remember that there was a study or two he cited that proved, once and for all (is anything ever proved "once and for all" by a study?), that there are certain people out there who are just happier.  Score one genetically for me (this pretty much makes up for inheriting my mother's thighs*)!

When I worked for B&N in Sherman Oaks, the book I most remember flying off the shelf was Dennis Prager's Happiness is a Serious Problem.  Never read it.  I have made it a point of honor never to read anything filed in the "Self Help" section of a bookstore.  But, I understand it to be an admonishment to all those Eeyores out there to follow a little advice from Ella (or, if you prefer, Judy Garland) (but who would prefer Judy to Ella?) and "Get Happy."  From what I've read about his book, he fingers the mindset of expectations as the cause of so much modern malaise and general grousing.  I had a camp counselor tell me that 28 years ago:  "Don't expect anything; just welcome whatever comes and treasure the blessings." 

But I expect everything.  My mind is always full of all the good things bound to come my way.  I guess my difference from others is that, when they don't pan out (as often enough happens), I am never devastated.  I'm already onto the next dream, scheme, or hopeful fancy.  Maybe that's where the "oblivious" part comes in.  I just never linger on sadness or disappointment.  There's a whole beautiful world out there!  Why mope?

Have you ever read George MacDonald's Phantastes?  A fabulous fairy story -- enthralling, eerie, enchanting!  And, as my best friend, Flicka, has said, it is a theological powerhouse of a book.  In the last paragraph, the hero, Anodos, hears music converging in his ear into an eternal chant: "A great good is coming -- is coming -- is coming to thee, Anodos."  He goes on to conclude that "I know that good is coming to me -- that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and courage to believe it.  What we call evil is the only and best shape which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good."  Such a faith as that can only be seen through the filter of Christ on the cross.

And, so I, too, know that a great good is coming -- is coming -- is coming to me.  I heard echoes of it as a child genetically blessed with a happy disposition; but since I first believed in the only One who is good, that promise has swelled into my lifesong.  The wonder is not that I am happy; the wonder is how anyone who knows the Lord is not.  And yet, I know many Christians are just . . . simply . . . not.  

For some it takes courage beyond human strength to be happy.  If you've stumbled upon this blog post and that is a struggle for you, please do not think I in any way wish to minimize or wave off your pain.  There is a reason Carolyn wrote that you have to "dare to be happy."  I would just encourage you to remember that a great good is coming -- is coming -- is coming to you as well.  Be bold enough to meet it.       
*Not that the pie helps, mind you.

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