Happy Happy :: Joy Joy

Written by hootenannie on May 20th, 2008

I struggle with discontentment on a regular basis. Oh mercy, I fight it at every turn. I am convinced – convinced – that if I could do or get juuuust one more thing, then I would be happy.

Throughout the years, my “one more thing” has taken different forms. When I was little, I wanted a Popple. And then a Skip-It. And maybe a Teddy Ruxpin.* As I grew older, that desire turned into a kitten, and then a boom-box, and then a car, and then to move away from my hometown. Once I was established in Seattle, it became a cell phone, and then a boyfriend, and then to turn 21, and then an iPod, and then a job, and then that dress at Anthropologie, and then to lose 5 pounds, and then a Macbook, and then a plane ticket, and then a couch, and then freedom, and then a purpose… all the while, searching simply for contentment.

I want things. I want them my way. And I want them now.

I know in my head that more things and more achievements and more experiences will not make me happy – there will always be something next, something greater, something bigger and better. My head knows this. My heart, though, is harder to convince.

Now that I’m here in Nashville, stripped of a lot of the comforts that I had come to rely on in my former city, I am confronting my discontentment every single day. I don’t have the same level of security and resources and time-tested friendships that I had in Seattle. I find myself making suppositions – that I just need to find a fulfilling job, or be really popular, or write some awesome songs, or be skinnier, or do something extravagantly impressive, or maybe just buy that little shelf at T.J. Maxx for my bathroom – and then my time here will have some purpose.

But I’m convinced that there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is an easy quick-fix, a circumstantial band-aid that covers up the real festering issue. Joy is authentic. Joy cannot be shaken by the everyday emotional rollercoaster. As I am tossed about by the winds and the waves, joy holds like an anchor.

And joy only comes from one place. And so these days, I am praying for joy.

*Let it be known that as a child, I never got a Popple, or a Skip-It, OR a Teddy Ruxpin. Maybe this is the root of my panic-driven, constant, grasping need for more and more?

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