Happiness is …

Fifteen years ago, I gave my little boy a small red ball on his first birthday. It was shiny. It was just the right size for him to hold with both hands. He loved it! Actually, I bought it for myself because it held special meaning to me, but I knew he would love it! Soon, it became just another toy in the toy box so I eventually pulled it out for safekeeping. Since then, I have kept it near as a constant reminder to maintain a clear head, focus on the positives in life and live intentionally.

Twenty years ago I lived in Dallas, TX and had the opportunity to attend many wonderful social gatherings in beautiful homes throughout Dallas and the surrounding areas. Some      homes were drop-dead gorgeous, full of fabulous furniture and fabric and designed with new features and spacious pool houses. During one party, I walked down the hall admiring the art on the wall. One piece of art grabbed my attention and I couldn’t walk away. The painting was mostly black and white. The woman in the painting was sitting outside on an old, broken, metal folding chair in a dusty, dry outdoor space. She was behind some sort of enclosure with barbed wire running across the top of the wall She didn’t look happy but she didn’t look sad either. She was just sitting there with dirty feet wearing a simple dress. She watched a little boy nearby. It seemed that he was her son sitting on the dry ground playing with a red ball. The caption simply said “Happiness is…”

Happiness is a red ball.

Happiness is A Red Ball. How simple.

When you have nothing else, happiness is the red ball. To the child, that red ball brought such joy! The ball was shiny, it rolled and bounced! It was all he had.

Simple joy despite deplorable conditions.

The red ball is a gently reminder that good fortune can end, hardships arise, illnesses occur, loss is imminent and sometimes things just don’t go as planned. The red ball reminds me to count my blessings, encourage others, and make up my mind to be happy. This mindset has carried me through some really tough situations that I have endured. It does not MAKE me happy, but it gives me the constant reminder that there will be rain with the rainbow, that the morning breaks after the darkness and that wholeness can be restored after suffering. It gives me hope.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” I find this to be true. Through trials and through celebration, our mindset can lead the way.fullsizerender-42

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