Happiness is Already Here

Years ago, when I rented my first apartment and moved out on my own, my mother bought me a bluebird of happiness glass figurine, which has held a place of honor in every home I’ve had since.

Over the years, this little glass bird has become a sort of talisman for me. A mere glance at it sparkling in the sunlight on my windowsill reminds me of the journey I’ve taken in claiming my right to be truly happy.

When my mother first gave me the bird, I wasn’t happy. I was excited about living on my own and eager for some new adventures, but I hadn’t a clue what true happiness was.

For more than ten years, this little glass bird sat silently and watched as I struggled to grow into myself, understand my purpose for being, and find the happiness I was meant to know. It witnessed the broken hearts, the disappointments, the loneliness and despair I seemed determined to repeat over and over again.

The harder I tried to create happiness through my job, my writing, my relationships, and my financial status, the more elusive it became.

One day, in a fit of frustration, I picked up this little bluebird of happiness figurine and studied it closely. What was the secret? What was I doing wrong? I pleaded with this little bird to give me some insight, help me to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. But it remained still and silent. I placed it back on the windowsill and started to walk away, when I noticed an increased sense of emptiness in my heart. I felt like I’d just lost something. Curious, I turned and picked up the bird again. Its smooth surface seemed warm in my hand, as if it pulsed with energy.

I heard laughter outside my window then, and glanced out to see three children playing in the yard next door. They were rolling around on the grass and apparently having a somersault contest to see who could do the most somersaults in a row without stopping.

One of the children was a boy that appeared to be seven or eight years old. On his right leg, from knee to toes, was a cast. A set of crutches was lying on the grass nearby, as he also did his best to somersault across the lawn. Because of the cast on his leg, he was forced to do a sort of half-somersault, with his leg sticking out awkwardly to the side.

It was such a funny sight that I couldn’t help myself, I began laughing along with the children, standing there at my kitchen sink, holding a bluebird of happiness figurine in my hand. As I glanced back down at it, I finally understood. The truth came rushing at me like a freight train, and my laughter turned to tears of joy.

I was holding happiness in my hand, and in my heart. It was already here, in each moment. As I searched for happiness, it sat prettily on my windowsill, just waiting to be noticed.

Like the little boy with the cast on his leg, each of us has things that hinder us to some degree. We might be trying to improve our marriage, connect with our children, find career satisfaction, discover our purpose, find our soul mate, get into better shape, or any number of other aspirations. But not having those things doesn’t have to be a hindrance to the happiness we feel right NOW.

We can simply stick our cast off to the side and somersault anyway, with a big goofy grin on our face.

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