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FAITH COLUMN: Being Happy Never Grows Old

The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.

By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com


I remember as a kid how the days seemed so long. I recall in the summertime after breakfast, I would shoot basketball until the sun became too hot, and then I would ride my bike to cool off. Our neighbors had five children and we would play kickball until it was too dark to see. Life was fun, and I was always excited to do it all over again the next day. I can still recall the simple joys of running through clover as fast as I could for no reason except to feel the wind on my face. I made sure to wear shoes because being stung by a honeybee was not pleasant. I loved to lie down on our picnic table in the backyard and watch the clouds pass by. It was interesting to see them transform into amazing images that looked so real and always wondered if anyone else was noticing this awesome display. On those lazy humid days when the temperature would soar, I would would turn on the garden hose and run through the water sprinkler and then play with my trucks and bulldozers under the cool shade of the trees. I can still hear the sound of a lone airplane and I would run out into the yard and try to locate it within an endless blue sky. I remember climbing our cherry trees and sitting high in the branches sharing the delicious fruit with the numerous birds that had the same idea. I would pick cherries and my mother would bake pies that were so delicious. I cannot recall being stressed or anxious about the future, I just believed everything would always stay this way and be alright.

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Well, we all grow up and discover that our journey has seasons and is always moving forward. I’ve had a blessed life and I’m learning that of all the things we can do, living in the awareness of God’s glorious presence will provide the courage and faith we need to endure whatever may come. As we grow older, it seems that time passes more quickly and maybe this is because we are spending too much of it watching others instead of focusing on what we need to do. When we allow ourselves to become overly absorbed and entangled with problems we cannot change, this can overwhelm us with sadness and discouragement. However, learning to live a productive yet uncomplicated lifestyle can help us rediscover the simplicity and contentment we once enjoyed when we were young. When is the last time you went hiking and enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation? It would be fun to play in the snow and feel the rain on our faces and maybe in the evenings we could turn off the television and take a quiet walk as talking with the Lord always brings peace and calm into our soul. Maybe if we realize that age has more to do with attitude than years, we could experience life on a higher level and have more joy and contentment. It is said that we are as young as our faith and as old as our despair.

I was in a restaurant the other day and noticed an elderly couple sitting together in a booth. The woman’s hands were shaking and her food would not stay on the fork. After several attempts, she put the fork down and her husband being aware of the problem also put his fork down. He quietly reached over and took her fork, cut the pancake, and gently started toward her mouth with a bite. She opened her mouth and accepted without even changing facial expressions. He returned to his plate and then began the compassionate process of taking turns. My eyes welled up as this scene touched me deeply and reminded me of how life seems to return full circle. Choosing to live in a disposition of childlike trust and hope in God allows us to remain happy and in His favor. Matthew chapter 18 talks about obedience and humility as a result of being spiritually converted and restored into the way we observed and contemplated life through our conscience as a young child. The innocence of children is precious in God’s sight and He desires that we maintain this attitude and perspective of purity and a character of forgiveness, sincerity, and love no matter what age we are.

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