Friday, June 13, 2014


Photograph by Shahmet Gordon

I am currently engaged in a challenge that asks if I can be happy for 100 days in a row. Every day I post a picture on Facebook that represents something or someone that brought me joy. The real challenge for me is not in finding a happy moment but in limiting myself to posting just one thing. I'm pretty random and tend to find glee in most situations. (I'm not walking around singing and laughing all day long, but I do dance quite frequently!)

Generally, I post a picture with a sentence or two describing my thoughts. Occasionally I am more introspective. Such was the case on Tuesday when I posted the above picture with the following commentary:

Today's happyness is brought to me by the Holy Spirit through the gift of clarity. Today is the first day of my last class with University of Phoenix. I started college during the Fall 1985 semester. This has been a very, long journey to obtain a four year degree. 

Over the years I have often felt like a failure. When I started as an undergrad, my parents were paying my tuition. That was a gift everyone isn't blessed with and I squandered it. At different times, I tried to go back to school; I would start and then stop again. (It was very annoying to pay for something I didn't complete.) I would look at my peers or family members who had graduated and wonder why I couldn't just do what they did. Not everyone went to college straight from high school - some went to the military first, some went to school while married, some while parenting young children. But I just couldn't seem to get it together enough to follow through.

What I now understand is that there is a time for everything; my time is now. I didn't have the capability to juggle family, work, church, and school. That worked out pretty well for my daughter, as I was available when she needed me and she is currently in a good place. By being in school right now, I am providing a tangible example to my son regarding studying, setting priorities, and working toward goals. Also, he can see that a couple of F's do not define a person; you can always work harder and do better.

I feel as if my life is flowing in 20 year phases. The first 20, childhood and adolescence, was a time for growth and development. The next 20, young adulthood, was for marriage, children, and focus on the family. This 20 seem to be about self-improvement, career, and community. (I'm only a few years in, so I can't be totally sure.) God willing I see another phase or two. I don't know what they will bring, but I do know they will be exciting years.

Clarity. A Gift. To be able to look back and see that there was a purpose. To understand that I am where I should be, doing what I should be doing.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. (Ecclesiastes 3:11,12)