The most basic happiness is possible when…
I have the gifts of health, clean water, nutritious food, empowering education, and a safe place to live.
Broader happiness is possible when I am grateful for the blessings above, when I enjoy the affection and trust of family, friends, and colleagues, when I have the freedom to work, play, rest, and enjoy simple pleasures, when I have something to look forward to.
Deeper happiness is possible when I have someone to love and something to care about… when I own my mistakes… when I am a serious student and a gentle teacher… when I am honest, humble, curious, forgiving, disciplined, and thrifty… when I contribute, create, and collaborate… when I say Yes when I mean Yes and No when I mean No.
But the highest form of happiness… the realm of JOY… is reserved only for the most audacious and generous among us… those who persevere in the face of adversity… who heal wounds they did not create… who refuse to look away in the presence of injustice and suffering… those who invest their blessings and burdens in service to others.
Do I dare count myself among the compassionate and courageous souls who, often at the expense of their own comfort and safety, insist on leaving this world a better place than they found it?