Before I began to discern God’s call to chaplaincy in 1985, I spent my life chasing happiness. I would be happy if only I had more money, a better house, a bigger title, a different spouse (who really understood me), the recognition of my community, and so on. So, I worked harder, earned more money, got a nicer house, a bigger title, (but stayed with the spouse who really does understand me), and pretty much all the rest. Yet that hole inside me never got filled, regardless of all I did, achieved, or acquired. I had yet to learn that happiness cannot be bought or caught. I had yet to learn that it can only come as a byproduct of how I live my life. I had not yet read Psalm 12, which tells us “that which is worthless is highly prized by everyone.” Or poet William Wordsworth, who wrote “The world is too much with us. Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”
So, God finally hit me up the side of the head with a two-by-four and I stopped chasing my idea of more, better, and different, and began to listen. And discern. And seek guidance. And learn patience. And pray – a lot. And I slowly came to understand that God’s intent for me is and always has been ….. more, better, and different – just not what I thought it should be. So now, I sit with a dying patient and we talk, and we pray and I feel the presence of God as she begins to find peace. And I am grateful. I meet and talk with the policeman who was first responder to the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando and I hear his story of how God helped him transcend the post-trauma nightmares of that event so that he is once more present to his wife and family – and that he will soon be entering seminary. And I cry, and I am grateful. And I watch the infectious joy of the little kids playing in my nursing home’s child-care center. And I am joyfully infected, and I am grateful. And I thank God, every night for the blessings and rewards and gifts of my life. I am deeply and profoundly grateful and … happy.
Every one of you reading or listening to this message is a minister. Yes, you are! You don’t have to go to seminary or get a theology degree. There is a place for you to bring hope, joy, comfort, and love to another of God’s children. Just give God a little time and maneuvering room in your life and career. Then listen with the ear of your heart. It will be made known to you. The rest will be up to you. And the happiness will come.
Let us pray: God of hope and love, lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God. Bless us with the patience to let you work in our hearts so that in your time, we may discern what you would have us do. Then help us to do it with a grateful heart, that we may receive the true happiness that only you can give. Amen.
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Daily Message Author: Bob Griffiths
Bob is Chaplain at the Pines of Sarasota, southwest Florida’s oldest and largest not-for-profit senior care facility. Prior to joining the staff in 2010, Bob worked in hospice chaplaincy for seven years. He is the past Spiritual Life Director at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, Sarasota and is an Associate of the Order of the Holy Cross, an Episcopal Benedictine religious order.
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