A few weeks ago I took my two boys on a field trip to the Long Grove Confectionery Factory. In short, it was a chocolate factory with an outlet store at the end of the tour. We had free samples and then loaded up our bags with some of the best chocolate ever!
It was a long drive back so I told the boys we could stop for a quick lunch. They were in the back seat playing with I-Pads and so I’m sure their hearing was impaired. I was calling out the names of places I saw, when Potbelly’s came into view and I announced our lunch stop. Potbelly’s it was. They had eaten there many times before so I knew it was a family pleaser.
We parked the car, waited for Will to “die” in his video game (I’m emphasizing how great of a mom I was being here), walked into Potbelly’s, and then Will stopped short.
“Oh, I wasn’t really listening. I’m not in the mood for Potbelly’s.”
“Sorry, dude, but here we are. So you’re just going to have to make it work.”
And we all lived happily ever after.
Will proceeded to complain and pout while we waited in line. Then he refused to order a sandwich. As Mesfin and I sat down to eat, and Will to drink his lemonade, Will is clearly upset.
At which point these words come out of my mouth…
“Will, make a decision. I will get you anything. I just want you to be happy.”
And then those words registered in my mind and I realized, NO I DON’T! I don’t want you to be happy. I could care less if you are happy.
What I want is for you to be content.
Not even our founding fathers were foolish enough to guarantee us happiness. They only gave us the right to pursue it. And you know what Will? I can take you to a stinking chocolate factory instead of making you do school work, and I can take you out to lunch. I can give you the chances to pursue happiness, but buddy, only you can actually be the one to catch it.
I understand this is hard for an eight year old as much as it is for most adults. I spend a great deal of energy reminding myself to be content in all circumstances. Regardless of what God has given me, I desire to be content in it. Only then do I find true happiness.
“Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking
the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.” Gandhi
Spending our life chasing happiness will never make us happy. Crazy thought, huh? Living in the moment, the present, and feeling gratitude for what we have….that is where we will find true joy.