When I was in high school, I used to think that I’d be happier once I got to college.
And, I was actually right. But then, I started thinking, “I’ll be even happier after this paper is done, or I pass this class, or I have a boyfriend, or I find a job.”
After college, I thought I’d be happier once I had more kids in youth group, or once I was married. And then, it was once the baby was born.
Then, once the baby was sleeping through the night. Or stopped nursing, or was done teething, or could walk.
I’d be happier if I quit my job, or had a new job, or stopped having kids. Or if we had more money. Or I could get one night of uninterrupted sleep for heavens sake! It seems there is always something standing in the way of my happiness. But am I searching for happiness, or joy?
I’ve been painting these Saint Peg Dolls of Maximilian Kolbe for a saint doll exchange. And I’ve been thinking about his life. How he spent several years in Auschwitz, giving away his meals, never complaining about the work or the beatings, and eventually spending the last weeks of his life in a starvation cell. While in the cell, he sang psalms and hymns and gave thanks to God, mediating upon Christ’s passion and praying bible verses. Even without external circumstances of happiness, he had pure joy. And now, a saint in heaven, he experiences the fullness of happiness in every second of eternity.
I went on a retreat this past weekend and realized that my life is like pointillism art. I am so focused on the dot, that I don’t step back to see the whole picture, the whole beautiful masterpiece that God is creating out of all the dots of my life and my children. I don’t have that eternal perspective, but I want to. So this week I am praying with this Scripture where Jesus says:
“So you are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts with rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you…ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” John 16:22-24
Even in our day-to-day circumstances, we can find joy instead of chasing after fleeting happinesses.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!