Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit
of happiness; it is generally the by-product of
other activities. —Aldous Huxley
When I begin to feel downcast, I must immediately turn my thoughts to other positive pursuits or chains of thought or get dragged down into the depths where Satan wants me. For example, one day I told my daughter that she was not going to have the same childhood I was; I used to think it was cool to not be involved in anything at high school. I did what was necessary to pass but did not really put in the effort in excelling so I decided that I was going to make sure that my daughter was going to have a productive and rewarding youth. I called the SPI Chamber of Commerce and got in touch with the people who were in charge of the children’s activities center at the Christmas parade. Even though I was told that there were five other parties who were going to be doing face painting I still asked if I could come which was a good thing because when the day came, none of the others showed up. My daughter and I were suddenly the star attractions. You should have seen the line. The line of kids waiting to see me was 30 deep and my daughter’s line was just as long. Those poor little kiddies waited so long that I couldn’t bear to even take a 1 minute break because I did not want to risk making any one of those precious babies disappointed. They were watching us work with huge fascinated eyes and would bunch around while we worked. They came up with neat designs themselves, for example, I had a dolphin as one of the designs they could select. A cute little girl asked, “Can you put a Santa hat on him?” I said, “Good idea!” and it began. Next a boy wanted a spider, that was not on the list of cute Christmas-themed designs I had displayed. Luckily, I am a spider-making expert and I drew an awesome spider on his hand, and to save me from getting in trouble with his mom, I added a Santa hat for good measure. I am sure he wanted a spider for the shock effect but that cute red and white Santa hat turned that terrible tarantula into an adorable arachnid.
So we realized we were good, really good, as a team and as painters. I chalked this experience to one on the “Good Mom” list and put up the paints in a place where I would remember for next Christmas at Schlitterbahn.
5 months later on a warm spring day, my boyfriend, Terry was driving me to Brownsville for a good ol’ dose of downtown treasure hunting when the phone rang. It was a man asking if he could meet with me that afternoon because he liked my resume. “Thank you, God!” I said then we went on to Brownsville to get the items we needed. Of course, I was gathering things we did not need and trying to convince Terry how much we did need them when I saw a beautiful set of paintbrushes at a ridiculously downtown Chinese Brownsville price. I figured, “Oh well, as long as I remember where I put them, I could use them for next Xmas.” We got back in our trusty little car and headed back for paradise island and my phone rang as we went down Hwy. 48. The caller asked if I was the one who did the face painting at Christmastime. She said we did a great job and wanted to know if we would be willing to be sponsored. Apparently the good people at the Texas Surfrider Foundation in South Padre wanted to know if we could help their booth be the best and we could and did. They were the nicest folks! One thing I love about South Padre is that people are genuinely kind and caring. All day long we did nothing but have a good time out there in front of Louie’s. There was a general excitement in the air as there were pirates everywhere. (It was South Padre Island’s 35th birthday and they had quite a bash!) Pirates and scalawags were everywhere! Everybody was decked out in their pirating best. We put in a good long day for the kids’ sake and headed home, tired but it was a good tired.
It turns out that the by-product of my conversation with my daughter about how she was going to have a more constructive and productive adolescence than I, was a new adventure. Turns out that with practice and tips from the pros and some investments into professional equipment, we are now doing birthday parties, church youth group activities and are going to bring smiles to children’s and parents’ faces at the awesome South Padre Island International Music Festival over the Halloween weekend this year. It feels good to have a talent that brings joy to many others and I only discovered this hidden talent when I was searching for a way for good to take the place of bad, or blah, in my daughter’s life.
A dating friend of mine is having trouble finding the right man. I tell her, “You will find him when you are not looking for him. Be involved in other things and you will meet him somewhere somehow. It will happen.” For happiness is not found in the pursuit of it, but is the by-product of other activities. It is kind of like when God shuts a door, he opens five windows, never just one as other people say. Don’t believe God opens just one window. When He shuts a door, it is usually because it would lead to somewhere dangerous or ugly so He shuts a door but opens all the windows in the room.