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If I hadn’t gone through years of domestic violence, a rough divorce, and buried two husbands, would I appreciate my current husband and happy marriage as much as I do?
If I hadn’t suffered several life-threatening illnesses, would I be as thankful for my present good health?
If I hadn’t struggled with years of financial difficulties, would I appreciate my current financial stability?
If I hadn’t worked at several stressful jobs, would I appreciate and enjoy my retirement as much?
Without God’s compassion and support, could I see the world as a wonderful place filled with miracles?
Rainbows come after a storm. Silence is more noticeable after loud noises. Joy is more recognizable after sorrow, health after illness, wealth after poverty.
Through these, God has taught me where true happiness lies — in the simple things: coffee at sunrise with my devotions, chatting with my husband, walking with Cooper in the early morning and at sunset, keeping in touch with friends and family, and the time and ability to pursue my passions.
I think of Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole’s hit song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. He combines Somewhere Over the Rainbow with What a Wonderful World, two of my favorite songs. They represent every blessing God has given me — the things most precious in this life.
As Melanie Rigny wrote in Living Faith, “What do you want to present when you face the Lord: a list of what you owed, or a list of whom you loved?”
I am included in that list. Have I forgiven myself as I have forgiven others? Have I cared for my needs? Have I allowed myself to rest? Have I given myself permission to be happy?
Thank you, Lord, for leading me through life's difficulties toward true happiness, which includes loving myself. My joy overflows and spreads out to others, enveloping them in the same love you give me. Amen.