The moral of this story will be quite obvious but only makes sense when the whole story is told. So I’m going back a few years.
We had a little furball friend named Furbie when the kids were growing up. I say little because his predicted 12 pounds grew into nearly 25 pounds. He spent so much time with this homeschool mom and her two daughters that his word knowledge was that of a forever toddler. He was pretty smart for a dog.
Furbie knew all the names of his toys and we could ask him to retrieve them by those names. He would hunt for them in his toybox hidden under a sofa cushion or lost behind the furnace door . One time for Christmas he received a hoops and yo-yo’s squeeze toy. This plush toy described all of our puppies good attributes and we thought it was the perfect toy for Furbie. The problem was that the perfect toy had a squeeze recorder that did not withstand his teeth command and broke only seconds after he removed the gift from its wrapping. His visible frustration was so obvious that we re-dubbed the toy the-worst-Christmas-ever. Our little furball friend could retrieve that toy by name for the rest of his all too short life.
Another of the toys that he received as a birthday gift we named happy. It was a little green Dura play squeak ball that he only played with when he was truly happy. He played with it when we were all home or just after a haircut or when a bag of new food was opened or just after a shower. The toy was appropriately named.
When he died we kept his things and I sanitized them and gave them to our new dog Waldo. Once again it wasn’t long before Waldo had bequeathed happy as his most favorite toy. We went on the hunt and purchased a couple more of these little balls as a back up so that we would never be without. However the original happy was never surpassed. Waldo would soon learn to pout and cry and whine and even bark if original happy was lost behind the sofa or the furnace door, under a bed or a dresser. Finally original happy met its end as the toys rubber became so soft it cracked and no longer squeaked. When the crack reached thumb sized I decided that much like a worn pacifier for a little child, it was time to discard old original happy. Besides we had two new ones right?
We had purchased a little green one and a little blue one but Waldo has taken to the blue durra play ball rather than the green one. We call it glad.
Glad however is a substitute for happy. It is not happy. Happy is gone. Happy is circumstantial and often driven by the happenstances of our surroundings possessions and such. Glad is finding a substitution. Glad is deciding life could be worse and there could be no toys at all. Glad is searching for the blessings in spite of the trials. Glad is knowing that even though life is not Disney World Happy it is not an earthquake either. Glad is perhaps playing with a broken hoops and yo-yo toy.
A friend of mine gave me a little business card sized poem years ago that says this:
What God Hath Promised
God hath not promised / skies always blue / flower strewn pathways all our lives through / God hath not promised / sun without rain / joy without sorrow peace without pain / But God has promised / strength for the day / rest for the laborer / light on the way / grace for the trial / help from above / Unfailing compassion Undying love
That little card has been on my kitchen cabinet right next to my sink for nearly 20 years in four houses and four different kitchens. Perhaps I don’t always find happiness in my circumstances. Sometimes I forget to play the glad game and look for my blessings in my trials. But God always finds a way to break through the storm clouds and shine joy that is eternal into my day