Celebrating Happiness, Not Comparing It!

Dear Reader:

Oh…the joy of being alive to see how my definition of happiness has altered throughout all the stages of my life. At the present moment…my happiness is being surrounded with close friends and family. I finally have it…it is not what we have in our lives that make us happy but who!

These days I see a metaphor between clouds and happiness. They are both best enjoyed with sight and emotion …but don’t ever try to dissect or over-analyze them ….If one does… the disappointing reality of the parts  never add back up to give us that original first impression of sheer beauty mixed with undefinable happiness.

Overthinking any situation or circumstance brings immediate disillusionment…God wants us to lose ourselves in His spectacular, undefinable beauty and love so happiness fills us to the point of overflowing onto others. Sharing unspeakable happiness is the apex of cementing relationships far beyond the mundane.

Growing up in the fifties (with only one parent who was physically challenged) made me feel left out when I became old enough to start spending the night with friends and realizing that my family situation was quite different than most of my peers’ lives.

I am ashamed to admit that I went through a stage (I was about twelve or thirteen) when I didn’t want my peers to know that I came from a different type of family household. So I never invited any friends home with me…just my cousins who knew and grew up with me not thinking much about it at all.

Yet today I realize just how close my family really was because of the differing circumstances beyond anyone’s control…and how supportive my extended family, on both sides, were throughout my childhood and youth.

We always think happiness (like the grass is greener metaphor)…happens to others, not us.  Yet now as adults my cousins have admitted to Ben and myself just how envious they were of the closeness in our family …including our wonderful housemaid/best friend/ Dora, my second mother and no doubt a divine messenger.

I was so fortunate, later, to have mother in her retirement years live with me because I was finally able to see her free from all the earlier stresses of raising three children and making daily decisions alone.

Now I understand the happiness she so deservedly received…living with me, home security, watching her children mature in adulthood while simultaneously delighting in her grandchildren.

I am there now and my friends with similar situations all agree that the best kept secret in life is this wonderful period after the children leave to follow their lives, discover the loves of their lives, and return with another generation of family so we can watch the future genealogy unfold before us. It is a wonderful time-period.

(*Being able to leave the parent-child relationship behind to become close friends with your adult children is the goal I think we all hope and pray transpires at some point in our lives.)

So until tomorrow….May we immerse ourselves in each day with all the happiness we can give and receive. There will never be another day again, in our lives, just like it.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

After my oncology appointment yesterday I drove over to Walsh’s to stay with Eloise while she took her late morning/early afternoon nap… while Walsh got some chores done around the house. Then we went and grabbed some late lunch before I headed back.

*Mollie and Rutledge flew out last Friday to surprise Bruce (Mollie’s dad) for a special retirement retreat…with all the family and close friends arriving to surprise him.

Another surprise for Marcia and Bruce…two close couple friends of theirs dressed up like hillbilly fishermen and proceeded to sit in the dining area while other diners (including Marcia) stared at this strange group with their, loud, boisterous behavior…only for Marcia and Bruce to discover they were all in on the surprise for Bruce’s retirement. 🙂 So creative! Happiness is family and close friends!






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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