Over the last couple of weeks I have talked to a number of people who, out of their sadness and desperation have simply said “they just want to be happy”. The reality is that we all want to be happy yet if that becomes the driving force in our lives we somehow miss out on it! So, what do we do… where do we find it? Reminds me of a story…
He was an orphan, he felt alone and unloved. Nobody really cared about him, yes he got the essentials, food and clothing, but he felt that he wasn’t special, and constantly struggled with deep sadness because he just didn’t seem to fit anywhere. He avoided people, and often spent whole days wandering on his own in the bush. One day he saw a small butterfly caught in a thorn bush. The more it struggled the more the thorns cut into its fragile body. The boy worked hard to carefully release it and when he succeeded instead of it flying away it transformed into an angel! The boy rubbed his eyes in disbelief as the angel said “for your wonderful kindness, I will give you whatever you like.” The little boy thought for a moment before replying “I want to be happy!” The angel replied, “very well,” and then leaned over and whispered something in his ear, and vanished!
The little boy grew up and there was no one in the land as happy as he! People often asked him about the secret of his happiness, and he would only smile and say “when I was a little boy I listened to an angel.” On his deathbed, his neighbours and friends rallied around and asked him to divulge what the angel had actually said that made such a difference to his life. Finally he relented and said “The angel told me that all people, no matter how secure they seemed, how old or young, rich or poor, they had need of me!”
How true of life, if happiness is our goal it may allude us, but if our goal is to help and serve others, then happiness is often the unexpected by product!
Chaplain Ian Whitley