Hope and Happiness Comes in All Different Forms

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I was carrying some bags of groceries inside and doing my ridiculous juggling act on the porch….trying to keep the storm door open while balancing groceries and turning the door knob (on the main front door) all at the same time.

When I glanced back to see if the storm door was going to catch me before I got in, a little spot of red appeared out of nowhere. I ignored it and hurried inside just as the storm door slammed behind me. I got as far as the sofa and just let everything fall on it. And then plopped down myself. Whew! When am I ever going to stop trying to get everything in the house in one trip instead of two or more? I really make life harder on myself than necessary sometimes.

When I finally caught my breath and unloaded the groceries suddenly that little spot of red I saw before scurrying inside reappeared in my memory. Curiously I walked outside and looked down at ” Big Red”…it still looked skeleton frail but tiny beginning signs of new growth under the leaves were just starting to show.

And then I saw it…the red spot was one part of a tiny bloom peeking through the spokes on the white bench. Oh my goodness….the first bloom since “Big Red”  and its surgery…including amputation. I had to let Luke and Chelsey know…so I texted them the picture. They were so happy but poor Luke had really had a Friday the 13th unlucky day with his truck breaking down on the way to work….so he said he needed some happy news.

Cindy Ashley sent me a a preview on a creative writing course that looked so interesting titled: “The Course of Your Life: Igniting Personal Story Through Philosophy.”

It is all about achieving the state of “Eudaimonia” – A Greek word meaning reaching a sustainable complete and flourishing life. This type of happiness is more synonymous with the word fulfillment.

In a nutshell it means understanding that leading a virtuous life is a fulfilling happy life. It doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles in our way….there really is no “Happily ever after” but with courage, faith, and virtue a person can sustain an elated euphoric sense of achievement over negativity and wrong-doings witnessed in every day life.

Philosopher Margaret Nussbaum believes “certain moral truths are best expressed in the form of a story.” (After reading this statement my mind immediately raced back “To Kill a Mockingbird” and its prevailing theme of racial prejudice.) How true….and what about “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” anti-slavery book (Harriet Beecher Stowe) and its effect on the Civil War.)

The impact attributed to this book was and still is so great, especially reinforced by the famous story that when President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe at the start of the Civil War, Lincoln declared, “So this is the little lady who started this great war.”

It is only when we examine human obstacles that we are able to tell our greatest stories. “We become merciful when we behave as the concerned reader of a novel, understanding each person’s life as a complex narrative of human effort in a world full of obstacles.”

This last quote got me thinking that (from my personal perspective) there is no way to truly seek the “pursuit of happiness” without mercy being extended to the pursuer and then being extended back to the giver.

Haven’t we all fallen short of grace and realized we can only truly be happy or fulfilled if forgiveness and mercy are extended both ways?

“Mercy” is a word that we don’t normally hear much any more…especially in the news. It has quietly become somewhat obsolete…yet I can’t help but think that a little more “mercy” shown when dealing with others would go a long way to changing lives from fear and helplessness into lives of hope and fulfillment.

And then it happened….with or without the word being verbally expressed mercy, in its kindest stage, jumped into action to help the Thailand Navy Seals successfully rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach after 18 days stranded in a Thai cave. The rescue efforts brought immediate international assistance from around the world and kept people riveted and cheering for the young soccer team for days….along with prayers and songs.

We might not have heard the word “mercy” much but we certainly heard the other “m” word….”MIRACLE!” And guess what…the successful rescue restored hope in human nature and happiness for and from all humanity. And as far as I am concerned…that was the real miracle!

True stories still move us ..and obstacles have a way of breaking down racial and cultural barriers….if only for a short time.

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Thursday evening as it was getting dark I remembered I had forgotten to check the mail…we had a late rain shower that afternoon. As I was re-crossing the street I looked at my home and saw its backdrop painted in blues and pinks. My iPhone couldn’t begin to pick up all the subtle colors that made the scene so beautiful but I will end the blog with it anyway….because it made me feel so happy and fulfilled… a state of EUDAIMONIA!



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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11 Responses to Hope and Happiness Comes in All Different Forms

  1. Reblogged this on Help from Heaven and commented:
    A wonderful post on achieving fulfillment through mercy. Her writing is so fresh and reassuring.


  2. bcparkison says:

    Another gMiss becky and YEA ! for big Red. I just knew she, or he , would come through.


  3. Thisonething says:

    Loved this.
    Words, well chosen, are like golden apples in a basket of gold. Proverbs 25:11
    May we be enabled to share God’s heart to a hungry lost world.


  4. Kathy Worthington says:

    Gooooo Big Red!!!! Makes me so happy for you!!!


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