9. Progress

How would you chart your progress? Are you making any headway?


To answer those questions, I guess you’d first like to know what I’m referring to, right? Am I talking about your health, your work, or your intellect? What if I asked whether you were making any progress in your enjoyment of life? Would that be something you could answer? 


The spirit of Joyous Gard is one that yearns for constant improvement in the enjoyment of life. Do you marvel at a purple sky that holds the sleepy star? Does it ever surprise you to find just how quickly a child can soak up knowledge? Do the feelings that you have for another sweeten your days?


Progress in life is the measure of how much and how often you’re willing to draw from your experiences in order to make your present days shine. To put it simply, this progress that I’m referring to is the very measure of happiness and joy.


Some may think that I’m short-sighted in my focus on happiness. Happiness, they argue, isn’t a worthy end for the mind of a believer. It should be joy, joy in the things greater than this world, joy in eternity and in a life pleasing to God to which we should aim. Happiness is hollow and shallow, they say: here today, gone tomorrow.


And it’s true, happiness is ephemeral, which is more the reason to practice and build the habits of happiness. What force is it that leads you up the mountain every day? What habits will move you daily to discover the riches that God puts before you. Maybe the smile that you overlooked was the smile that was intended to change your day. The love that you have no time for could be the very connection to help free your soul.


God, I believe, works in the both the light and the shadows of this world offering these small pieces of joy we call happiness. These segments of life that do seem to come and go – these instances of happiness – must be sought every day as riches freely given to us by God.


Day 9 Guide


Happiness is but a sliver of paradise and a demonstration of God’s continued presence in the world. Be careful not to devalue the power of great moments.


© 2006, Levi Hill

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