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Happiness is a journey

The Way I See It

March 30, 2014
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

If you're over thirty or forty years old, you've probably noticed that people are quirky. Some people always have a smile on their face, are always "whistlin' Dixie" and are usually optimistic about things. Then there's the other side...the "boo birds," the ones who would find something to complain about no matter what. We all have friends like this on both sides, but what would our friends say about us? Hm, now there's an interesting question. But an even larger question looms, what does it take to make one happy?

I retired from the Mental Health Institute, (MHI), some three years ago and I am in my 20th year of pastoring a small church. Between MHI and church situations, I've experienced a lot. Working at MHI always taught me to be thankful for the things I've got and to be as happy as possible despite life's twists and turns. "There but for the grace of God go I" seemed to be a good motto to live by and I've tried to do that whenever possible. After retiring from MHI, I started volunteering more and one day was asked to visit the Senior Center, say a blessing, tell a joke, have lunch and then call Bingo for the group. This I did and it's been one of the highlights of my retirement thus far. These "seniors" (Harumph, I'm only 62 so not a senior yet), are some of the happiest and fun-loving people you would ever meet. Heck, they even laugh at my jokes, which even my wife cringes at sometimes!!

But it got me to thinking. What does it take to find happiness? Do we convince ourselves that once we get married, have a baby, then another and maybe another that happiness will fall upon us? Or once the kids are in school, graduated from school and we're finally on our own that we can sit back and find happiness? We will be happy once our kids get out of the teen age years or we tell ourselves that we would be much happier when our spouse straightens up or gets his or her act together or when we get that new house, new car or we're able to go on nice vacations. Or maybe happiness will finally hit us when we are able to retire and now really enjoy life.

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The truth is there's no better time to be happy then right now. If not now, then when? Life will always be filled with challenges so it's best to admit this to yourself and just decide, (yes, DECIDE) to be happy. Happiness is not the destination; rather it's the journey itself. Treasure every moment, take plenty of pictures, laugh every single day, laugh hard several times per day and thank God for being alive right now. In fact, take some time and write down ten ways in which you are a blest human being. Then sit down and think of three people that are important in your life and write them a nice letter or send them a nice card telling them how much they mean to you. This will bless your day and believe me, it will absolutely bless their day. Do it and do it now!

Happiness is a journey so stop waiting until your bills are paid, the kids leave the home, you lose ten pounds, you get married, you get a divorce, you have kids, you retire, until spring, until summer. Don't wait too long. Begin now, begin today. The Bible says that "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Remember that old song, "Don't worry, be happy?" Stop worrying and "whistle Dixie."

That's The Way I See It. Let me know what you think at or call me at 319-327-4640. Be abundantly blest this week.



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