Last weekend my husband and I headed to our farm in Kentucky. One night is what we planned on, coming home in time to work on various projects and run errands But guess what happened? When we walked into our cold cabin, lit a flickering fire, turned on the hot water and stocked the fridge, we decided to stay all weekend. No tea from my local café, but good, strong, hot coffee. And a wi-fi that’s temperamental, but loads of movies on dvd. Action movies, mainly. The Crown waits for a weeknight.
Everything back home could wait, and we had plenty in the pantry to see us through. We really are quite far from a store. No pizza delivery. No deliveries at all. Contrast that with our other life in the suburbs and farm time is special. I know how lucky we are to have two places. When we started out together, we had a tiny starter home in an area rife with crime. I could safely run in only one direction. West. And we dreamed of the day when we could run in all directions and not worry much.
Why am I telling you this? I guess I’m afraid of sounding like I have it all. Or maybe that we don’t deserve this. And you know what? As hard working as my husband has been throughout our marriage, we still feel like we do live a dream life. But it didn’t fall into our laps. No. Years of working, saving and waiting paid off for us.
I’m amazed at where God brought us. So many years we worried about paying for doctor’s bills and groceries. And what does that all have to do with your happiness? Well, I’ve been thinking of how we made it here and how you will too. It involves goals, working, and not giving up on yourself. Years later here we are in a nice home with good schools. Old cars for the kids. Heck, phones for the kids, which seems more necessary some days than cars. And that brings me to a funny story.
My oldest was sixteen and phoneless. I didn’t see why she needed a cell phone yet, except her new driver status meant she might run into an emergency. So the time had arrived for her to join the world. (This was over eleven years ago and cell phones weren’t nearly as prevalent.) A phone for her made sense and also for child #2, who spent countless hours at different fields and courts and required rides everywhere. So I decided to have a little fun with the whole cell phone bit.
Daughter #2 is athletic. She played basketball and in her sixth grade year she played awesome defense, but I wanted her to score more than four points a game for a fun change. So I promised kid #2 that if she made ten points in this game, today, she would earn herself and her sister a cell phone. Each. Two cell phones. (I was running three kids in three separate directions while my husband worked 75 miles away, so the phones would help us all so much.)
The parents on the sidelines knew about my promise. The coach did not. My husband, the assistant coach, knew nothing, thank goodness. As the game entered the fourth quarter (each child played equal amounts of time, generally), my daughter sat at six points. She had come so close! I felt bad for her and waited for the end of the game to arrive, so I could tell her how wonderfully she played. Except some parent on my side had told the coach to let her play until she made ten points. That’s all he knew. I was oblivious to the plan. The coach kept her in. The game. And yes, she was fouled. Bam! Two free throws. Two points.
Oh wow! Daughter #2 now sat a mere two points away from her goal. And yes, she made a shot, and hit her ten points! My four points a game princess did it. And even though the game hadn’t ended, every parent on our team stood up and screamed! She had done it! The other team looked at us as if we were insane. Why cheer with two minutes left in a very close game? Because she had earned it. A cell phone. Two actually. As her teammates laughed and the parents patted me on the back, a smile grew larger on my face. I happily joined in the happy celebration! She had earned it, and everyone celebrated. We shared kid #2’s happiness. Yes! Yesss!
I explained to both daughters how achieving a certain goal had earned them cell phone bliss. Having goals for yourself, reasonable ones, and pie-in-the-sky goals too, is necessary. It keeps us working long past our breaking point. We don’t give up. We push onward. Because we know if we work at it, we will get better and get our cell phone. That Kentucky farm. A trip to Colorado. Whatever you long for and wish for.
It’s good to really work your way through something. Have goals. Ambition. Stay at work long into the evening. Hitting and then smashing past our benchmarks, brings us happiness. It does! Hard work yields so much in this world! And the other funny thing? My husband who really did work eighty hour weeks for years on end, lost his access to country land when his dad died. He’s a country boy. And for over twelve years in Ohio, he depended on the invitations of friends to get in some rural time. Until, I found a slice of country heaven five years ago and we snapped it up.
Knowing how much he wanted some land to putter on, farm, and enjoy, I decided I would rather have land in Kentucky than travel and see the world. We bought the farm and built a cabin, and happiness secret #2 came alive. Making someone else’s dream come true is fun, wonderful and it brings us happiness! It does! Out of his happiness, I have found bliss and delight. We both enjoy the farm so much, that staying the whole weekend is wonderfully fun and relaxing.
Maybe your goal is to save up money to buy a slice of land somewhere safe. Keep at it! You can do this. And the other way to happiness is to bring some of that to another person. Give away your happiness for theirs.
Happiness given away is happiness earned. Just ask my eldest. She remembers finding out her little sis had won a phone for her, and her happiness spread out. We all enjoyed their excitement. The cell phones I bought the very next day? The girls used them, and nowadays they text one another and snapchat and connect.
See? Happiness can be given and taken. Earned and spent.
I hope you have a lapful of contentment this week. Moments of bliss in the middle of hard work. And let’s spread some happiness around this week…
Until next time…