I saw an advertisement in the newspaper this morning that was titled, “Find Your Happy Place. It’s not that far away.” The ad was for locating activities in the area using the newspaper, but I thought about it in a spiritual way.
Where is our “happy place” in this world? Is there really is a happy place for Believers in this world? Shaul says that although we live in the world, we are not of the world. We are of God, so then shouldn’t our happy place be where God is?
Well, DUH!! Imagine- heaven is a happy place! Who wuddah thunk it?
For me, my happy place is where God is, and isn’t God everywhere? We know He’s omniscient, we understand that He is omnipotent, but I think we often forget that He’s omnipresent, too. His works and wonders are everywhere: in the sunset, in the fact that there is a sunrise, when we breathe, when we eat and get nourishment, when we pray and feel His spirit within us- you know, that “tingly” feeling that feels like a chill, but you aren’t cold? I know when I feel His presence because I cry. Not the loud, bawling type of cry. It’s the type of cry you get when there is a happy ending, when you feel a rush of endorphins, when the good guy gets the girl ( or vice-versa).
I feel like I have been washed clean, inside, and I am emotionally and spiritually relaxed like no hot tub or massage can ever make me feel.
Our happy place should be anywhere we are because God is everywhere. In Biblical times people thought that the gods of the nations were geographically restricted. The gods of the Arabs were in their temples and their territories, the gods of the Babylonians were in Babylon, the god of the Israelites was in Israel, and so forth. Na’aman, the general we read about whose tzaraat was cured when he washed in the Jordan River, took dirt from Israel back to his country so he could worship the God of the Jews. Ezra and Nehemiah were allowed to rebuild Yerushalayim to appease their God by repairing His house. The people saw their gods as their property, assigned and restricted to the local areas.
The true God, Adonai, whose name is Y-H-V-H, is everywhere. He is not just everywhere physically, but everywhere in time, too. He was before the beginning of time, and will be after time is done.
It used to be we thought time was eternal and infinite, but with Einstein we now know time is relative. If time is not absolute, then we really can say, actually and not metaphorically, that God was before time, and that He will be after time is done. We will be there when time is no longer a factor of our existence. After all, when we are living in eternity, in infiniteness, without a beginnig and an end, time cannot be measured, ergo: there is no time.
But there will be God.
Peter Pan had to find his happy thought to fly; many people who meditate find a happy place, in their mind, to relax; we who worship God don’t have to look for a happy place or a happy time because it is here, it is now, and it is all around us. Our happy everything is God, and when we live, think, and breathe God we will always be in our happy place.
Oy! If only it were that easy, right? I think everyone reading this will agree with me up to this point, and we all (yes, me too) have just one question: why don’t I feel the “happy” I should be feeling if God is all around me? Why am I sad, why do I get angry and frustrated, why can’t I be happy like that other person who always seems to have a joyful and happy disposition? What am I doing wrong?
Want the answer? ….so do I!
I don’t know why I allow my worldly feelings to control me. I ask God to show me how to call on His Ruach so I am happy all the time, so I always talk and act in a Godly manner, so that (as David asked) the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart will always be acceptable to God. I should be like Ebenezer Scrooge when he wakes up on Christmas Day and can’t contain his joy. We should all be like that, everyday of our lives, every minute. All we need to do when the darkness starts to enfold us is remember the light, remember that throughout Eternity we will be basking in God’s glory, His presence shining all around us, His Shekinah warming the very cockles of our heart, always, forever, never ending. Oy!! What a wonderful picture I just painted.
Then reality steps in.
You know, I am pretty much sick and tired of reality. I want “God-ality” instead of “real-ality” and I am going to start to live in God-ality more and more, until I am done with this world, altogether. Maybe you can join me? Truthfully, it will be nearly impossible for me to do this- I hope and pray you have an easier time of it. I know that there are two things to remember: with God all things are possible, and when I am weak, that is when I am strongest. I will lean more and more on the Ruach, and call out to God for help and strength more and more often. I will try to be aware of my feelings, and those of others, to keep an eye out for the warning signs of real-ality creeping in. These are all things I will start to do right now.
I’m scared of this revelation and my determination to make it a part of my life: it will be hard. It means I can never let my guard down, never just “let it all hang out.” I will have more troubles and strife because when I ask God to strengthen my spiritual muscles, He does- He works them to death! I suddenly have all these problems and things go wrong. God pushes my buttons so that I learn to let go of what my nature wants to do and lean on His spirit within me for strength and to tell me what to do. Asking God to strengthen your spirit is asking for trouble, literally. That’s the only way to strengthen your spirit- you need to use it. It’s like a muscle that has to be developed. A muscle has to be strained past the breaking point, actually destroyed a little, so that it rebuilds itself stronger. That’s how body-builders get such big muscles: the muscle is worked so hard some of it actually dies. The body then rebuilds that muscle, and adds more to it. Result: small, weak muscles become bigger, stronger muscles.
So, to get to my happy place and stay there all the time means I will have more problems and strife in my life. The problems and strife will increase as my ability to remain in my happy place increases, until, eventually, no amount of tsouris will be able to overwhelm me. I will be in my happy place all the time, even when things aren’t going well.
Hmmmm….what the heck am I getting myself into here? I don’t know, but I think I am heading in the right direction. What do you think? I guess the only thing to do from now on is try, pray for help, and do as the Patriarchs did- go forth in faith. I don’t where I will end up with this, and I don’t know what I will have to pass through or undergo, but I am on my way. Pray for me, and pray for my wife, too. Sweetheart- I am afraid you will be dragged along on this trip, so get ready. Being with you is my favorite happy place in this world, and we will both be happier together with God.
A final word about “happy place” that comes from one of my favorite shows, “Harvey”. Jimmy Stewart is Elwood P. Dowd, a man who is friendly and happy and totally unfazed by the world. Humble and gracious, he hates no one and invites total strangers to dinner. Oh, yes- his best friend is a 6-foot tall, invisible rabbit named Harvey. The part I like best is when he is talking to a young woman and tells her that when he was young, his mother said that in this world you have to be either very, very smart or very, very nice. He said for a long time he was very smart, and he recommends nice.
With God’s help I am on my way to a constantly happy place here on Earth. C’mon along.