Tell me, how would you describe happiness?
"Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you." - Maori Proverb.
I saw that quote a couple of days ago in the hallway of my university.
BIMM (my university) is doing a Week of Wellness (W.O.W) to celebrate Mental Health Awareness month, so the halls are covered in encouraging and uplifting poems, proverbs and/or facts with little tags that people can tear off and take home with them. True, one of these encouraging and uplifting poems, proverbs and/or facts is a picture of a dog with the words "Eat, sleep, play, poop" (actually, those tags went pretty quickly), but the Maori Proverb caught my eye and has been stuck in my head ever since.
It reminds me of a song we used to sing in church when I was a kid: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning".
Some of you may have seen that a few days ago, I put out a live recording of one of my songs (The Sad Song), and those of you that listened to it may have noticed that it was was, well . . . sad.
I wrote that song a few years back with my mum, and for some reason it feels like it's come in a full circle and seems to resonate with me a lot more now than it did when we first wrote it (I guess that's growth for you).
Each day the world weighs in on me. I can't focus.
I was 15 years old when this song was written. I was very depressed and extremely isolated (which I thought was by choice, but in hindsight I don't think it was in my control as much as I thought it was).
I felt like I was stuck inside a stranger's body, trying to break my way out, but there was a strange, cold and almost comforting presence that told me that I wasn't ready for the world yet. So I stayed. Stuck, alone and in deep denial about how bad I was making things for myself.
Can anybody hear me? Don't you know I'm calling out to you.
About once a year, my church does this thing called an Impossible List.
Basically you think of about 5 things that you think could never happen (i.e. it's impossible), you put it on a piece of paper, you pray for it over the year and then review it towards the end and see if your prayers have been answered.
It's supposed to encourage people to pray, and remind them that nothing is impossible with God, and it has a pretty good success rate. People's prayers get answered and they write a new list, or they keep praying for the things on their list until they get answered.
Anyway, I have these two friends (aka the best thing since Mario Kart), who decided to take it upon themselves to put me on their impossible list (even though I explicitly told them not to) and to pray for me over the year.
I wasn't going to pray for myself because I was angry at The Big G for putting me in this position which meant He and I weren't really on speaking terms at the moment.
So, long story short, they prayed and (over the course of that year) I was healed (hip hip hooray). Let's all give a round of applause for the friends that completely ignore your demands because they know you're being crazy town banana pants (if you're sitting next to one of those friends, give them a really big smooch on the cheek). It's because of people like that, that I (metaphorically) stand before you today as an (almost) fully functioning human being.
All of my enemies are trying to push me down but I'm not moving.
Although I was healed from being depressed, I do still have times when I feel run down and worn out, but that's OK. My weeping may endure for a night, but now I know that my joy will come in the morning.
What's important, is I now get to choose to look toward the sun (or in my case the Son) and let my shadows fall behind.
I fight for my happiness, not because I'm trying to avoid "negative" emotions, but because I know that was what I was created for. To feel joy, and to bring joy to others. Everything else is night, and the sun's gonna rise at some point.
And when it does, I'll be here waiting.
"For His anger is but for a moment, His favour is for life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning"
- Psalm 30:5
P.S. I wanna be clear, that I totally understand that some people aren't able to decide to be happy, and lots of people can't control their emotions (trust me, I've been there). But I know a pretty cool guy who can make you happier than you know and can give you full control of your emotions (I'm talking about God, in case you didn't realise). If you wanna ask me anything about it, please feel free to message or email me.