On a visit with my mother last winter, she told me about a recording she once had of Brother David Steindl-Rast, a well-known Benedictine monk. The old cassette tape had long since been lost but she recalled one line clearly: "It's not the happy people who are grateful. It's the grateful people who are happy."
Those two simple sentences have stuck with me, my mind wandering back over them almost daily. Not long ago I read another quote along the same lines, this one by Rabbi Hyman Schachtel: "Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have." These two men point out that happiness is a choice, rather than simply a product of happy circumstance.
Today I came upon a third quote. My favorite of the three, Jack Kerouac said, "Be in love with your life. Every minute of it." (For those of you who know me even a little, you know I speak the language of the heart.) So I can feel gratitude... I can choose happiness...
And I can marvel at every minute I'm alive - at the birds singing and the sun shining and the stars whirling overhead and the babies and the old people and the poetry and the text messages and the friends and lovers and the coffee and the cars and the breath inside my chest - and feel totally, unimaginably, humbly grateful, and happy.
Poetry and Musings of an Interfaith Minister on the Journey of a Lifetime.