A Little Slice of Heaven
Happiness is not easy to come by sometimes, or is it? Perhaps the thing getting in the way of our satisfaction is ourselves. I drive down the same piece of highway to get to almost everywhere I go. Its a beautiful stretch of road that has many nice looking places on it. None of them are particularly extravagant and none of them bespeak of much wealth. When looking at these quaint little places though, I am often given a sense of peace and happiness because its clear how these people are living their lives. Simple, functional, beautiful but with an air of diligent work.
One place strikes me most of all. It is not so much because of the homestead though. They have a nice small house, a nice barn with a big star in Christmas lights, and a variety of animals living very peacefully. The most noteworthy of which is their dog. I always notice him (I assume), not only due to his size and his white fur, but because he is in the exact same place nearly every time I pass. No matter the time, no matter the weather. Sometimes the horse is their, sometimes the donkey. I believe I have seen a mule and sheep as well, along with at least one pony. Always the dog though.
Without ever introducing myself nor investigating, any closer than a casual glance as I drive by, I have a complete understanding of this animal. I do not need to meet this dog to understand the peace and contentment it has from sitting in the same spot all day every day.
These large shepherding dogs have something innate inside their being that gives them a purpose in life. This is not taught or trained and requires almost no grooming (the dog probably does but not the instinct). It calls to the surface a deep seated emotion in me to see this. Like I'm witnessing something more true than fact. Something more real than most people know how to experience. The contentment of purpose. The bliss of service.
Happiness is fleeting my friends. It is something that we should except gladly when it comes to us, but contentment, I think is the real goal. We are always caught up with the new. We see something and must have it. We are willing to put ourselves through, sometimes, agonizing work that we were not meant to do to earn the paycheck that can fund all these fleeting things. These things don't make us happy or content because something new comes along.
What we can do, I think is sit down and be quiet. Listen to our own self and find out what it is that we are good at, and then do it. Be satisfied with what we were designed to do and focus on keeping the unwanted intrusions out. Protect what we have. Build trust and relationships that last a lifetime. Accept our position with joy and nobility and willingness.
You may not be a sheep that gets to wander the field and eat all the clover. You may not be the artist that relaxes and allows inspiration to come to them at their leisure. Sometimes you are the shepherd, working day and night, ever vigilant, ready to sacrifice to keep good your little slice of heaven.
If you find out what you are and work continuously to be it, relishing in your responsibility, not trying to be anything else, not worrying about what everyone else is, then I think you can find peace, purpose joy and contentment. That to me is a little slice of heaven.