Finding my happy

In this season of my life I imagine I spend an 1/8th of my life in the grocery store. I don’t even feel that’s an exaggeration. I’m in charge of planning, shopping, cooking all the meals for my family. Random snacks that our activities require, social event food items, and if I don’t buy the underwear and toothpaste we will all be commando with halitosis. For the most part, I don’t mind this task because I love the interaction with people. The elderly checkers at Wal-Mart hold a particular place in my heart. I like the sweet ones and I LOVE the feisty ones. A lot of my writing is inspired by events that unfold in the grocery store. Good and bad. If your life allows you to ‘pop in’ to grab an item or two, you are missing out on a huge window into your local community.

The humanity I have experienced in the grocery store has far outweighed any two single locations combined. You get the entire spectrum of the worst in people to the best in people. I have to admit I have had less than stellar moments of character myself while I was at the grocery store. It can be a challenging environment. If you go in unprepared, it can take you down. Three hungry, cranky kids an hour into a grocery run can go bad real fast. Real fast.

Soul DetoxLately the topic of being Happy has come up a lot. Our Lifegroup is discussing the book Soul Detox. Soul Detox examines the toxins that assault us daily including: toxic influences, toxic emotions, and toxic behaviors. We must fight the soul pollution threatening our health, our faith, and our witness to others. We are almost done with the study and I’d recommend it wholeheartedly.

Our Lifegroup is doing a study that isn’t following our sermons but today I had one of those days. The day you feel like the preacher is speaking directly to you. It’s like he knew the questions I had in my soul and felt he needed to take the time to answer them just for me. I love those days. God’s timing.

In truth I am a very happy, positive person. My ‘at rest’ is to be happy. But we’ve been doing this study so I’ve been questioning, praying, seeking out happiness and how it revolves around my path with God.

outside of godMark Christian is the senior pastor at my church and he is doing a series on gratitude. He is an amazing preacher. Amazing. This is the link to his sermons and I’m sure today’s sermon will be up soon. (11/16/15 Sermon)

Today, we got settled from church and while I’m reading in my Soul Detox book my husband was watching a TED talk regarding happiness. Shawn Achor : The happy secret to better work. This guy was hilarious. It’s short and worth a watch.

I liked how he summed up how to train our brain to be happy.

3 Gratitude’s a day. (Find three things to be grateful for each day.)
Exercise (Your actions matter)
Meditation (focus on what matters: I interpreted this as praying)
Random Acts of Kindness
Back to the grocery store. I have all this information rattling around in my brain. My book study, the sermon, the TED talk, and all the discussions I’ve had regarding the topic. Today I was just going to ‘pop in’ to grab two items. My two items turned into 8 and I had a cart instead of a basket.

Harps only had two lines open. Two lines and we were 7 people deep on both lines. So they open another line and I happen to be right there. Instead of rushing to the front, I let the elderly man with a can of Denty Moore stew and rolls go in front of me. Then I let the woman with a diet coke and some cigarettes go in front of me. I’m now third in line.

longstockingI look behind me and a teenager with the most hysterical beanie hat is standing behind me with her two younger sisters. All three of them looked like they were auditioning for Pippy Longstockings. They had a lot more than 8 things clutched in their gangly arms. So I back out my cart and ask them to please go in front of me. I don’t think a thing about this and I just start looking at the magazines. But they start whispering amongst themselves and finally they ask really loudly, “Why did you let us go in front of you?” I just started a bit and said, “It seemed like the nice thing to do.” Then they started whispering back and forth amongst themselves furiously again. They stopped whispering and turned to me and said in unison, “Can we help you put your groceries on the belt?”

I had a few breakable things in my cart so I just crossed my fingers and said, “I would love help from some amazing young women.” Thus began a mutual admiration conversation that included us finding multiple things to compliment each other on. I’m not sure I’ve ever been complimented on smudged mascara under my eyes, but they felt that it was very pretty on me. They waved goodbye to me and said they would let people go in front of them the next time they were at the store.

I’ve only lived in this town for five years so it’s rare that I meet people I know out in public. I’m not good or bad based on what people think because people here don’t know me. I just do the best I can do and move on.

heartIt just so happened that two people who I know where in line watching me without my knowledge. One stopped me before I got out of the store to tell me she was watching me be kind to those children and another just said hello in the parking lot.

But the fact remains, my kindness was observed. It was observed by the children and by strangers and by acquaintances. Just as my indifference would have been observed if that was what I had chosen to do.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn. I’m trying to shout to the heavens that my preacher, my Lifegroup, intellectuals and even Disney have it right. What you feed into your soul is what you put out into the world. If we want more kindness in the world, we need to put it there.

“Where there is kindness, there is goodness, where there is goodness, there is magic.” – Cinderella.

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