Happiness is Not Having What You Want But Wanting What You Have
We all want the best for ourselves and the best for our families. We have all buried those who have died short of approaching their perceived goal of happiness. In casual conversation, many survivors have confided in us that the deceased had always worked for that one more little ?something? that would bring them happiness. The sadness in the plan is that they failed to assess their situation, look around and say ? ?Wow, look what I have. I am so happy with it.? I have met men with nothing. I have met men with everything. The happy men that had accumulated little or nothing far outnumber the happy people that had accumulated a king?s ransom.
One morning I was slated to do two arrangements.
9:00 arrangement A – for a local judge, respected and known for his success and philanthropic contributions.
11:30 arrangement B ? for a fellow who had attended many services at our chapel and was known as being a bit of a? character? fixture in the community.
I posed the same questions to both sons in conversation after having completed the formal documents:
Tell me about your father.
A ?Well, dad was a very busy man with his successful partnership and later his call to the bench so we didn?t see much of him. I remember missed birthday parties and Christmas concerts but we knew that he would have been there if he could have. He never really said the words but mom always told us how much he loved us and how proud he was of us. We never lacked for anything ? he was the best dad ever.?
B ?Well dad was always around for me. After school he was waiting to hear about our day and have a laugh about the teachers. We would go fishing every Saturday and had the greatest talks about life and love there on the banks of the Fraser. He told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. We never had much but we had everything we needed ? he was the best dad ever.?
What do you think your father valued most about his life?
A ?My father always wanted to be remembered for his contribution to the arts so I would have to say the donation of his Group of |Seven collection to the National Gallery was what he valued most.?
B ?My father always told me that he was a very rich man. He would reach into his front pocket and tell me that was where he kept his health and that was worth a million dollars. He would laugh and reach into a shirt pocket over his heart where he said he kept me and mom and that we were worth at least five million dollars. He would finally come to the friends he kept in his back pockets and together we would decide which were worth five bucks and which five thousand, depending on how the week had gone. I grew up believing that my father was the richest man alive and I think that was what he valued more than anything.?
After those two arrangements I wondered about which man was the richest. I sat after those two arrangements and plotted a course with my own family, assessing what was important and what was not. That was when I decided that happiness is not having what you want; rather happiness is wanting what you have.
In this business we are gifted with many opportunities to hone our individual ?philosophy of life?. We are allowed to see snapshots of other people?s reality. It is what we do with those opportunities that make the difference.
It is so sad that ?too soon we grow old and too late we grow wise?.