Marriage and Family

July 1, 2017

Happiness is a choice


By Francis Ewherido

“Life is not fair,” is a common  refrain by many people and do you blame them? What is fair about losing your spouse at a young age? What is fair about losing a beloved sibling? What is fair about being predeceased by your child? What is fair about losing your only child? What is fair about failing an examination because you refused to “sort” out the lecturer either financially or sexually? What is fair about losing a contract not due to incompetence, but because you did not bribe somebody? What is fair about being wrongfully detained by law enforcement agents either because you did not bribe them or your adversary is a powerful figure. What is fair about working like an elephant and eating like an ant? The world is filled with injustice and unfairness and it has always been so. What did Abel do to merit being killed by Cain?

Yet in the midst of all these, you have a responsibility to make yourself happy. Happiness, like sadness, is a choice. While growing up, my mother always reminded us that if you look in only one direction, your neck will become stiff. Learn to look in all directions and free your neck from stiffness; that is why God created it to revolve and be multi-dimensional. Sometimes the very things that you take for granted or make you sad are the same things that bring happiness to others.

A man is happy because after suffering sexual dysfunction for a long time, he was able to fulfill his marital duties. Meanwhile, another man has committed suicide over the same sexual dysfunction. A passenger is grinning from ear to ear and taking selfies, just before an international flight, probably his first. Meanwhile, sitting beside him is a miserable wreck who is lamenting his change in fortune. He used to fly business class, but has now downgraded to economy due to lean finances. He has forgotten that there are others who cannot fly anymore for the same economic reasons, but are very happy just reliving those old times they were able to fly.

Paying your children’s school fees has become a routine, but your neighbour is walking on his head in pride because he has scrapped through and managed to pay his children’s school fees for another term. You are miserable because you are still driving the same car after eight years, while your contemporaries have replaced theirs with newer and bigger cars. Meanwhile, there is jubilation and celebration in the house of Solomon because he just bought a car for the first time in his life, a fairly used and older model of your car that is making you miserable. Meanwhile, Solomon was your classmate in the university. You are tired of eating beef. You want “healthier” and more expensive options like chicken, snails, sea food, etc. Meanwhile, another family is celebrating because after eating “without” for a long while, they are eating meat today.

Happiness does not result from what life throws at you, happiness results from how you handle what life throws at you. Recently, a Catholic Church parish had a mass wedding for couples who have been co-habiting, but not married in the church. The joy and fulfillment in the faces of these couples was indescribable. And when it was time to dance, some of these old people rolled back the clock; see bubbling. Meanwhile, have you not heard of youngsters preparing for wedding and fighting over inconsequential issues: cost of rings, wedding gown, shoes and suit; venue for the reception, choice of photographer and cake maker. Some proposed marriages have died over these issues.

Happiness is a choice. Choose happiness, because “Life is 10 per cent what happens to me (you) and 90 per cent of how I (you) react to it.”(Charles Swindoll). Choose happiness because “if you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough” (Oprah Winfrey). Choose happiness, “remember no one can make you feel inferior (or sad) without your consent”(Eleanor Roosevelt). Choose happiness because “when one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us”(Helen Keller). Choose happiness because “everything (and everybody) has beauty, but not everyone can see (But you should see it) (Confucius). My world has changed because I have changed my thought (Norman Vincent Peale).

Life has been cruel to all of us, but some of us have chosen to be happy. Senator Akpor Pius Ewherido, my dear brother, yesterday made it four years since you left. I still grieve, but I have chosen to be happy; I still ache, but I have chosen to be happy; I miss you sorely, but I have chosen to be happy; you left a massive void in my life, but I have chosen to be happy. I still cry over your death, but I have chosen to be happy. I am happy because we spent 47 magical years together before you left. I am happy for the wonderful times we shared. I am happy because you were a special gift God gave to us. I am happy…..

Rest on big brother. I will always love you.