Are You Happy?
21A, window seat was where I was while aboard my flight home from visiting friends. I was sitting behind a family with two small children. My initial thought was that it was going to be a loud journey. Being a teacher, I was okay with it- used to it even. However, before we ascended, I noticed the elder of the girls peering at me from between the seats. I gave a quick wave, to which she returned the gesture and instantly called me her friend. A few minutes passed, and I quickly graduated from friend to her referring to me as her “best friend,” and it was quite an honor. Soon, little Lucy had introduced me to her whole row, including her parents, sister, and her stuffed animal, which she offered to let me hold hands with during take-off.
The tiny tot spoke of going to see her abuela and inquired if I was doing the same. I responded with a gentle “No.” She wouldn’t know it, but my abuela flew to her real home in Heaven just last year.
Children are precious and innocent. One thing that strikes me about them is their inhibition to breach tough topics, even if they may not intend to.
She babbled some sentences I could hardly interpret, but then, her soft voice shouted straight to my weary soul. The young one gave a genuine smile, then simply asked “Are you happy?”
She didn’t mean for her words to carry such depth, but I found myself drifting from the shallow end, without an answer or a floatation device. I sat back in my chair and pondered her inquisitive words. Her mom chuckled from the seat beside her, knowing what a loaded question that is for grown-ups.
Little Lucy will likely spend most of her girlhood days being jovial, as most kids do. There is such irreplaceable beauty and purity in those years. Their unhindered naivety makes for a wonderful and free existence. They know they will be protected. They know they will be fed. They know they do not have to worry. They are blissful because they have yet to taste the true evils the world is ready to dish out.
There are scenarios when angels come in really powerful ways, but there are also times when they are still and they are small; like in grocery stores, coffee shops, or even in the form of little ones who are just learning how to talk. I am not completely certain, but I think I may have crossed paths with a special miniature angel. One sent specifically to admonish me regarding the sweetness of life that still remains, and of the contentedness that is accessible in whatever comes my way.
There is still so much good to behold, and so many opportunities to do something good as well. I have traveled far in search of it, only to discover that frequently it comes in unexpected ways, such as in teeny packages, buckled in seats, and sharing smiles and games of peek-a-boo. Maybe there is a lesson in that. Joy is ours for the taking and is available all around us. Sometimes what you are looking for is right in front of you. I saw this in a brand new way through my encounter with a stranger-turned-friend on a direct flight toward Florida.
By the end of the trip, I had my answer.
Yes, Lucy girl. I am happy. I choose happy because you tenderly reminded me of the positivity and wholesomeness that is still out there.
I was able to get together with their sweet family again before they went back to their home state. Lucy had gotten car-sick before we met, so she wore only her animal print leggings over her diaper and some sandals. We gathered outside, ate yummy food, and drank coffee and tea. It started to rain during our visit. Instead of running for shelter, little Lucy grabbed my hand and asked me to jump in the puddles with her. We played in the rain as the summer showers passed. With such elation, she kept repeating “It’s raining, it’s raining!” Her belly was bare and the ringlets in her hair were damp, but still, she danced. The storm didn’t scare her. The winds didn’t deter her. She rejoiced and found enchantment right in the middle of it all. Perhaps, like this bright-eyed toddler, it is time for you to embrace goodness right in the center of your circumstances too.
If I could leave you with one piece of advice it would be to always choose gladness and gratefulness, no matter what. Even if your heart is hurting, or you feel miles from normal; even if you lost your job, you are walking through a trial, or your family is falling apart. You can make a conscious effort to find joy even in the midst of chaos.
You do not have to keep running down dead-end roads or chasing unfulfillment at break-neck speeds. You have the opportunity to be content in whatever situation you find yourself in.
Now, I pass along her same question to you. “Are you happy?”
If you don’t yet have an answer, take some time to view life through the eyes of a darling child.
The road might not always be easy. You may face storms and harsh terrain, but I promise you, there is always a reason to be thankful and to hold on to the happiness that is readily available to you.
Rachel is a lover of travel, nachos, and the gospel. She is a graduate of Urshan College and will most likely always call it Gateway. She recently graduated with her master’s degree in counseling and human services and is currently serving at The Pentecostals of Cooper City in South Florida.