I am happy. I feel like the luckiest girl in the universe. I have meaningful work that I enjoy, 2 children that are entering the world of adulthood as interesting people, an older dog who still thinks she is a puppy, and I get to live in the beautiful inland northwest. I’m healthy, I have time to work, exercise, and play, and I am living within my means. I feel loved by my family and extended family, I have old friends, I have new friends, and I have old friends I am getting to know in new ways. My life is full, and my heart sings with gratitude.
I’ve had a few folks say that I deserve to be happy. I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the last few weeks. The word “deserve”, according to my online dictionary and thesaurus means “to have or show qualities worthy of reward (or punishment)”. Synonyms are “earned, just, and fair.” When the kids were little, I (like most parents, I suspect) heard the lament, “but, it’s not fair!” more times than I could count. My snippy, but accurate retort was always, “Life isn’t fair…get used to it.” An attitude of entitlement, in my children, or in Jim, or in myself, was something that did not receive much cultivation in this house. I preferred, and encouraged, an attitude of gratitude. Life, however fragile is a gift…and we celebrate and are thankful for that gift.
To deserve to be happy implies that someone or something owes me something because I earned it. I worked hard, I put in the time, I made the sacrifices…and now it is my turn to be happy. It implies that I would have chosen this life, these circumstances, with my eyes on some distant prize. I would have had the ability and skills to manipulate happenings and people to reach this place of joy. In karmic terms, it assumes that good things happen to good people. Because I lost a sister to a car accident, and Jim died of brain cancer, nothing bad can now happen. I deserve this happiness.
Life doesn’t work that way. Good things do happen to good people, but bad things happen, too. I don’t have the omnipotence to alter events nor people. The ONLY thing I really have control over is my reactions to life, and my attitudes towards it. I’m very aware that there will be more loss, more pain, and many more tears on this precious ride I call life. I don’t deserve more sorrow, but life is not fair…and I am used to it. For now, I am happy. I don’t deserve it….but I am oh so grateful.