FrIdAy FuN & FeElInGs…
My heart is just swelling as I think about what I want to share today…so many thoughts, experiences, and so much to say. But I think I’ve truly witnessed a HUGE Secret to Happiness & why it matters!
While I was working on a movie in Africa, we roamed through the poorest little villages of Kenya, and met so many incredible people. I felt the deepest compassion come over me…
Most of them had clothing that was worn, tattered, and thrashed. They were filthy, and honestly, they (ok I’m having a hard tiime saying this, but the truth is they stunk.) Now I’ve said it, but none of those outward things made me hate them, no, not one. In fact, they had the opposite effect on every one of us. In spite of the sickness, starvation, and all of their hardships, we were overcome with their beautiful smiles.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” Denis Waitley
In Kenya and Malawi, smiles were everywhere, even amidst the obvious pain and hardships. I remember seeing 2 young girls beaming as they ran through a field with mice they had just caught for their dinner. But when we went on to Adas Ababa Ethiopia, the smiles seemed to dissolve. Faces were etched with pain and sadness. We even had several people who begged us to take them back to the States.
At first I didn’t understand how there could be such a distinct difference in these people and all of the Villagers we had just seen.
But after a while, it started to become more clear. Everywhere I looked, I noticed crude little huts, slightly larger than a refrigerator box. On top of each little hut stood a TV antenna. It hit like a brick to the chest…could the difference be that these people had TV, so in essence, they knew what they didn’t have? My heart sunk.
I think the difference in their countennances came from their perceptions of their world. In Kenya and Malawi, they were satisfied and even grateful for their lives, no matter how simple. They were content and happy. But for the Ethiopians, they knew what they didn’t have and longed for a different existence.
So of course there’s a moral, and I believe that when we look through eyes of gratitude, great things happen in our lives. Even the simple things we tend to overlook…running water, kindness, a smile, the freedom to pray.
It may not change our circumstance or difficulties, but instead makes them bearable and an important step to feeling fulfilled and happy. That’s it. When we stop looking at what we don’t have and pacifying our “wants” everything changes for the better. Plain and simple, gratitude changes everything, most of all, our hearts.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
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