Happiness that lasts

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

When my husband and I divorced a number of years ago, I had hoped it would be an opportunity for me to start over, finally finding a relationship that would make me happy. I met and dated a lot of interesting men, but only realized happiness for short periods. There would always be some aspect of the situation that wasn't working for me.

I found myself going out with men who didn't want to be around children (I have three), or who used drugs or overindulged in alcohol, or who wanted me to lower my standards or change my lifestyle. I tried to accommodate all these things, but there was no lasting satisfaction.

During this period it occurred to me that I was looking for happiness in circumstances and situations, instead of in something more permanent, something more spiritual.

This growing desire for a spiritual answer compelled me to turn to the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" as resources. The second book - Science and Health - was written by Mary Baker Eddy, a woman who overcame circumstances, some of which were similar to mine, through deep and persistent study of the Bible. I yearned to find a remedy, as she had.

Repeated consistently throughout these two books was the message that by trusting my life to God, I could find peace and happiness. This particular passage was most inspiring to me: "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul" (page 60). I knew that Soul was another name for God, revealing an aspect of His nature that was new to me. The author goes on, further explaining: "Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man. We cannot circumscribe happiness within the limits of personal sense."

It occurred to me that Soul must be the opposite of a personal sense of things. This revelation awakened me to realize that my happiness wasn't based on whom I was with or what kind of person he might be. Turning to God instead, I began to expand my understanding of who He is and what kind of person I am as His child.

This thinking was my prayer. And it relieved my concern about whether my suitors or I measured up.

Thinking deeply about God motivated me to define the character traits that inspired me, such as goodness and dependability. By aligning my life with those qualities, I was able to improve my own behavior and maintain the standards that supported this new attitude. I found it easier to say no to immorality. Existing relationships either reflected these changes in my outlook or simply faded away, and new friendships were more in keeping with my desire to be consistent with what I was learning.

I was given greater responsibilities at work, and even took on a whole new job. My relationships with my children improved, and caring for them became less of a burden. Anger and hurt feelings over my divorce diminished, and I was delighted when my ex-husband remarried.

About this time, an old friend with whom I'd been out of touch for quite a while, contacted me. As we renewed our acquaintance, it became clear that we had a great deal in common. He loved my children and was a good friend to them. We shared many of the same ideals and goals for the future. We eventually decided to marry.

After we became engaged, my fiancé confided in me that he had been praying with many of the same ideas that had appealed to me. In fact, it was inspiration from that prayer that led him to look me up again. That was proof to me that this relationship wasn't just the result of wishful thinking. Instead it was the action that grew from recognizing a divine source for my happiness, a source that never falters.

I have set the Lord
always before me:
because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoiceth:
my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Psalms 16:8, 9

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