Everyone's right to happiness

IT was our wedding anniversary, and it seemed an appropriate occasion to thank my husband for having made me so happy over the years. I'll never forget his response: ``The happiness has always been there. You've simply found someone to share it with.'' I was very grateful for his gentle reminder that happiness always has been an essential element of the identity of each one of us. Everyone can and should claim this heritage. This may seem difficult, even impossible, when we feel desperately unhappy as the result of circumstances ``beyond our control.'' Perhaps our family has broken up, or a job with all the earmarks of success has been terminated, or maybe we're separated from friends and family and feeling alone. The temptation may appear overwhelming to allow unhappiness to consume our thoughts. Yet there is a solution.

Christ Jesus reassured the sorrowing disciples when he said, ``Ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.''1 We today, in a very real sense, can ``see'' the Master again through the understanding and acceptance of what he taught. We can begin to experience something of the joy that can't be taken away, even if darkness pervades the moment.

Jesus taught that God is our all-loving Father, and his healing works show that God is not the creator of discord. Illness, lack, sorrow, have no divine basis. Therefore they are no part of the man of His creating, who expresses only qualities that originate in Deity.

Perhaps this sounds too idealistic. Maybe the idea sounds good but the application just doesn't seem practical in today's world. After all, doesn't happiness depend on whom we're with, where we are, what we're doing? Wrong! Happiness is a spiritual quality, and we have it as we accept this fact and live from this basis.

I once found myself alone after many years of marriage and of raising a family. I had lost my husband, and my world was shattered. For a little while I hardly seemed to know where to begin to pick up the pieces. But I have always found peace in the study and application of Christian Science, and I knew that trusting God to guide each step along the way would surely lift my thought above doubt, loss of self-esteem, and confusion.

In order to demonstrate what I knew to be spiritually true, I needed to establish a better sense of my identity as God's offspring; to see myself as a spiritual idea rather than a suffering mortal. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy2 writes: ``Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique.''3 This passage helped me to understand that I shouldn't try to turn a distressed mortal into a happy mortal but strive to realize more clearly that as a spiritual idea I had never really been out of the realm of genuine joy.

My healing did come, and with it a deep sense of contentment and happiness. Nothing had outwardly changed, and there remained many challenges, but never again did I feel lacking in a joyful approach to each situation.

So my husband was right when he reminded me that happiness had always been mine and his -- and everyone's. Such God-bestowed happiness is the birthright of each one of God's children.

1John 16:22. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health, p. 475.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalms 30:5

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