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Happiness: Reclaiming the Joys of Childhood

Happiness Reclaiming the Joys of Childhood

How can we live life to the fullest on a daily basis, especially in the moments when we feel bombarded by struggles or haunted by a scarring past? How does one ‘turn the other cheek’ to life and keep a sense of humor, trusting our Creator in every moment? This past week, something unexpected gave me a new, positive perspective on a seemingly missed opportunity during my childhood.

I was waiting to have lunch with my granddaughter at her elementary school when I caught myself thinking back to my days as a child. When I was a little girl, I yearned to have my parents with me—or even just one parent— to spend time with me and create special moments that would later become cherished memories.

Disappointingly, that never happened, and I learned to tough it out. Although I often felt like an unloved child, I grew into a woman who is fully capable of loving, and one who is unguardedly accepting of others’ love in return. Having also matured emotionally and spiritually, I have found the strength to lay any and all regrets to rest. I feel blessed and grateful that my parents gave me life.

As I waited for my granddaughter’s class to arrive in the cafeteria, I looked around inconspicuously. I noticed all of the other children around me, and I adored their innocent, carefree faces. Magnificent, untainted little souls—full of wonder and genuine happiness.

My granddaughter’s arrival was like a scene from a movie. She rushed toward me, smiling from ear-to-ear, and showed me off to all of her friends. My heart melted as I experienced the power of love.

Although I often felt like an unloved child, I grew into a woman who is fully capable of loving, and one who is unguardedly accepting of others’ love in return.

Suddenly she grabbed my iPhone, scrolled through iTunes and said, “Grandma! Play the ‘happy song’!” So I turned on Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’ song and she started clapping and singing. The feeling was contagious, and I watched it spread as the song touched the ears of the other children, who, in turn, also joined the rhythm and movement of my little granddaughter.

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

I clapped and sang along too, certainly feeling happiness and suddenly being so sure of ‘the truth’. At that moment, I realized I was not only there as a grandmother, but also as a little girl—the one that was shoved down deep inside of me, who showed up and sprang into action! Instead of feeling discontent with my own childhood, I was filled with joy. What an unexpected gift! I felt like I was getting the opportunity to recover a precious experience that I previously assumed had simply passed by.

Sometimes we receive opportunities we thought were lost forever, and we’re presented with a chance to reclaim it. What could I do except wipe away a happy tear and smile of gratitude? If we could only open our hearts, silence our minds, and live in the bliss of the present moment, what other unexpected gifts might we notice?

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Phyllis won’t be kept down, she’s a survivor that lives to embrace the unknown of tomorrow!

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