I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.
For what is happiness but growth in peace,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.
~ May Sarton, from “The Work of Happiness” in Collected Poems, 1930-1993
The settled happiness and security which we all desire,
God withholds from us by the very nature of the world:
but joy, pleasure, and merriment, he has scattered broadcast.
We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy.
It is not hard to see why.
The security we crave would teach us
to rest our hearts in this world
and oppose an obstacle to our return to God:
a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony,
a merry meeting with our friends, a bath
or a football match, have no such tendency.
Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns,
but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.
~C.S. Lewis from The Problem of Pain
I am reminded every day, as every headline shouts bad news:
this is not our home.
I am only a wayfarer seeking out air charged with blessings to soak up like a dry sponge.
I sometimes lose focus on the “why” of my journey
on this troubled earth:
so much of my time and energy is understandably spent
seeking out safety and security,
striving for a road filled with happiness, joy and contentment,
as if that is my ultimate destination and purpose.
Yet the nature of a fallen world filled with faltering souls such as myself leads me down boulder-strewn paths filled with potholes and sheer cliffs.
At times nowhere feels safe or secure and I overthink my next step.
God acknowledges my fear of the unknown destination, as only He can know what lies ahead on anyone’s journey.
God in His mercy never leaves any of us homeless or without hope. He charges the very air we breathe with blessing. Yet He knows even our need for air to survive is simply not enough to sustain us for eternity.
He gifts Himself and I can breathe in Him. Only He will last forever.
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise .
We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe .
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not
This is not our home .
It’s not our home .
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