I recall a few years back, I felt depressed.
I had a million problems! I had conflicts to deal with, a few storms in my Catholic community, plus a number of personal trials as well. To top it all, my dandruff was getting worse and my pimples are erupting again.
I prayed, “Lord, are you sure you want me to continue preaching and writing? I know I’m good-looking (depression has a way of making me hallucinate), but shouldn’t You have picked someone much holier and wiser and more loving?"
As I poured out my grief before God, and as I felt His tender comfort, a crazy question popped in my mind: “Bo, give me five reasons why you should be happy today.”
“Happy? Lord, how can I be happy at a time like this?”
But the question remained lodged in my brain, and I couldn’t give it up.
“Well,” I mumbled, “my five reasons for being happy are lovely Lily, sexy Sylvia, pretty Pamella, terrific Tanya, and gorgeous Grace.” (I was still single at that time, so I could make jokes like these.) Fearing that lighting may strike me anytime, I decided to become serious.
“First reason, Lord: You. We have a great relationship. You love me so much, and uh, I love You sometimes. What a God! Second, I have a beautiful family. Dad’s old and Mom’s (bleep!), yet we’re still together… Third, despite of it all, I have a great Catholic group. Fourth, I’ve got a fantastic job as preacher, writer, helping the poor… Can it be better than this? And fifth, I’m in love with this one girl. (Not five!) Pretty, sweet, loving, honest, and insane enough to go out on dates with me.”
And before I realized it, my “lousy feelings” left me and I felt happy!
You know, it worked so well, even to this day, I’ve decided to do this daily. Before I go to bed, I recall five things that happened during that day which I want to be thankful for.
It could be small stuff like, “Today, I watched the sunset,”; or “A little kid put her arms around me today and that felt so good”; or “My wife and I ate at Macdonald’s ‘cuz that was all I could afford but felt t’was a candlelight dinner in Shangrila.”
Because of this practice, the way I see life has changed. Because from the moment I wake up, my antennas are up—looking for the five things I’m going to be thankful for. I’m no longer focused on the bad things that happen, but on God’s great blessings each day.
Happiness is a choice.
You and I have everything that we need for happiness. Happiness isn’t “out there” but something that’s deep within us.
We choose to be happy. We choose to make our lives great.