Lasha Morningstar


July 7, 2014

The sentence startled me. "You have the right to be happy." I was reading that proclamation somewhere, don't know where or in what context. Probably in the Saturday Globe or a news magazine.

But the words sat in the back of my consciousness like a nagging toothache.

What is happy? Dogs romping in the dog park. A toddler flying down a slide. An elderly couple walking hand in hand down the sidewalk. Grads tossing their mortar boards in the air at graduation. The smile on a wife's face as her husband's heart pain disappears during the night. A rescue dog or cat finding a forever home.

An inner city youngster riding away on his restored donated bike. A community's joy when a policeman, shot in a neighbourhood dust-up, is given the OK by his doctors. A physician, defying all odds, saves a life. A wee child, brand new to a school, is asked by another pupil to sit with him at lunch.

That is joy for other people. Joy comes in all shapes and sizes for each and every human being.

So why don't I feel it in my own life or at least have the awareness it is there?

The article says we can make up our minds to be happy. That's when my thoughts screech to a stop and I mutter, "Oh really? Just how do I do that?"

One bit of advice they give is to decide when you get up in the morning to be happy – notice what is beautiful, good and a gift to your life. In a word, they want you to be grateful.

So does Pope Francis: "Gratitude is a flower that blooms in noble souls."

Never thought of myself as being noble. Scrambling. Worried. Trying to be responsible and good. Stumbling sometimes. Never noble. This flower is not blooming.

Maybe I am just a bud waiting to create an environment for joy. Or, maybe I haven't even poked through the earth yet.

Happiness, one missive advises, means to surround yourself with friends and family. Be part of the community – work together for a common cause. Take

responsibility for your health with checkups and lots of veggies, fruit, walking.


Turn your workplace environment into a place of contentment. If there are troubles and tension, dispel them by creating your own goals and bring new ideas to the table.

Okay, so I read the prescription on how to put a smile on my face and in my heart and soul. Sitting here I realize I have no idea where or how to find happiness in my life.

Time to think.

Light bulb moment. I am happy writing for you. It lets me share. And sometimes your emails let me know the words hit a home truth for you. Three teddy bears sent from Red Deer bring tears to my eyes and guard my room at work.

Going to school makes me bubble with anticipation. No matter how hard I struggle with a course it is always worth it.

Watching friends achieve their goals absolutely delights me.

Perhaps what clouds happiness is fear of change. Turn on the newscasts and one is never sure of what they will hear. Tornados and floods where they never wreaked havoc before.

Job losses. Why do they always give numbers? These are people who do not have work anymore.


The city announces plans that wipe out homes, homes where people have lived for decades.

Schools are closed and parents are jollied along with promises of a bigger, brand new school. Neighbourhood residents protest, explaining how the school is used for various community groups and of what it means for their children to walk to school instead of riding a bus for too long a time each day.


Stop! Time to look in the mirror. The only way I shall find happiness is doing my bit in my own little patch in the world.

The pundits are right. Happiness is a choice, and it's not found in a bottle or pill. So I shall read the O Immaculate Lady, Undoer of Knots prayer and try to listen for her nudges.

In the darkest moments remember these words. "Believe, when you are the most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in this world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain" (Helen Keller).

(Lasha Morningstar