Somewhere…. Over The Rainbow….
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
Does the title of today’s post sound familiar to you at all? It might! You see, I borrowed the idea from the movie version of a beloved tale written many years ago! And while scholars today believe that “The Wizard of Oz” was penned by someone looking to describe metaphorically, the politics and even some people who lived in the 1890’s, (although this was always denied by the author, L. Frank Baum, who published his tale in 1900), I choose to believe that Baum’s purpose was less insidious. I believe he meant to teach us all a moral lesson that is one that we should cling to even today…. that searching and searching for what you think is happiness might only find you mired in the quicksand that IS life!
I believe we all carve out our happiness by the way we think and behave toward others. We….. ALL OF US….. search and search and search for something that is better than what we have. However, in the end, our true happiness is usually found in what we have rather than in what we don’t! And it is this thought that brings to mind another story I once had read to me in Sunday School. It was many years ago….. decades, in fact….. but the message was so powerful, I never forgot it!
Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lived a simple stone cutter. He was a very unhappy man who felt that life owed him a much happier existence. Well, one day, he saw from the street the beautiful house of a merchant who made much money importing goods.
Through the open window he saw that the home was beautifully appointed with many fine things! And he wished to himself to be the merchant…..and poof…..he suddenly found himself inside this house. He thought now I am happy because I have what I wished for.
Then one day as he was conducting business, he looked outside and saw a member of the royal family being carried by litter bearers on a velvet chaise through the streets. And the man thought, how wonderful it would be to live such a luxurious existence and so he made another wish…..and poof…..he became royalty!
Soon he found himself being carried under the blazing sun, and he became uncomfortably hot. Thinking to himself about the sun blazing far above and unaffected by any human on earth, he made another wish…..and poof…..he became the sun! And he blazed brightly over the land, withering crops and drying streams.
Suddenly a huge, black, storm cloud passed below, between him and the earth, blocking his rays. Seeing that the cloud was so powerful that it could block out the sun, he wished another wish!
Suddenly, as the cloud, he let loose torrents of rain flooding homes and businesses. And then the cloud stopped moving and began to be pushed in the opposite direction by the wind. And now the man knew what he must become and so he wished once more!
Now the wind blew and blew and blew everything away that lay in its path, when suddenly, it encountered an object it could not move. A huge granite boulder stood firmly, refusing to budge. Suddenly the man knew there was something even more powerful than wind! Once more he took a deep breath and wished his wish, and poof…..suddenly there he stood, tall and proud and heavier than anything else around! And the man believed all his dreams had come true!
Suddenly he heard a sound. The staccato resonated over and over, and suddenly the granite felt himself changing and transforming and he wondered what could possibly be strong enough to alter granite. He looked down below and saw what it was! It was a stone cutter!
Our happiness seldom lies in the realm of the unknown, which is why before you find yourself hopelessly overwhelmed in a pity party of your own making, look, listen and think about the life that presents itself to you everyday. Look at the little things that bring a smile to your face and a lightness to your step. And then offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for those little things because happiness is not defined by what we have. It is defined by who we are and by what we are able to do for others!
“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;”
Ecclesiastes 3:12 ESV
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