The world is so full of a number of things
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
--Robert Louis Stevenson
In my early twenties, I worked at a dinner theater in Nashville. All the actors worked the cash register, hostessed, waited and bussed tables. As we did our restaurant diligence, we played characters in improv. Once the guests were settled, our improv characters put on a show. (We were actors playing improv characters playing other characters onstage. It was soooo fun.)
My improv character was Polly Doodle, the hostess. She was very cheerful. After guests were seated, she went around to people that looked put out and told them each a happy thought. (Thankfully, the management provided me with the book, 14000 Things to be Happy About. I would have quickly exhausted my own powers of invention!)
I figured I would be rebuffed, but most people pleasantly accepted Polly's happy thoughts. Apparently people do not want to stay in a bad mood. At least people who go to dinner theaters do not.
It was fun.
This week I am reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It is a serious look at joy in the midst of grief and pain. Not that Polly Doodle was frivolous. The task of encouraging others to embrace happiness is a serious thing, humor notwithstanding. But Ann Voskamp takes it to a higher level, exhorting us to purposely recognize our blessings no matter what.
So I made a list of Happy Things. (You knew that was coming, didn't you?) In the interest of transparency I confess I got a very bad haircut yesterday, which did NOT make the list. I'm still working on thankfulness in the midst of that one. But I did list other things that at first glance might seem more like burdens and less like blessings.
1. pale brown coffee
2. dancing child early in the morning
3. pain that says something needs to change
4. full box of paperclips
5. handmade quilt and afghan on my bed
6. cobalt home-sewed dress for theater
7. big clean towel and hot shower
8. flawed people allowed in God's house
9. patient waiting kitten
10. cantabile piano floating out of the silence
11. two weekdays (in a row) at home
12. people that teach for free
13. Sun rising in the east, shining through south windows
14. pistachios during math
15. pie charts and crayons
16. knowing the difference between multiples and factors
17. big and little containers
18. using the cat for math
19. a tall bed
20. the possibility of a calm, gentle voice
21. conflict... an opportunity to imitate Christ (I had to pray through this one)
22. ninja kitty attacking vicious ice
23. child pondering faith and salvation
24. texting at lunch
25. vile, disgusting carpet that we are waiting to replace... waiting, I'm learning to wait...
26. kids that clean messes
27. Old Navy gift card (I purchased workout clothes)