“I hope you’re happy.”

Right now,
right here,
that’s not a sarcastic statement,
though it often is –

Good for you.
I hope you’re happy.

What does “happy” mean, anyway? –
it’s used so often
that the word can be practically

and if we find ourselves in a tough place
and are trying to convince ourselves to stay
because we think we’re supposed to,

“happy” can become an anchor
throwing us to the bottom of the sea,
choking us,
drowning us.

Maybe throughout your life,
people have told you not to ask for too much,
so you might have this thought on repeat –

I’m happy enough, I guess.
There’s probably nothing more,
nothing better out there
than what I have here already.
I should just be grateful.

Trust me when I say this –
“happy enough” isn’t enough for you.
You are an entire universe
in the form of a human body,
ready to blossom and bring forth
more beauty and glory than anyone can fathom –
including you.

More than happy enough,
I hope you’re happy.
Foolishly happy.
Deeply happy.
Wildly happy.
Comfortably happy.
Calmly happy.

And if you’re not there,
you have not run out of time
to find your way.

Kate Bowler cut straight to the soul in writing

“blessed are we when we yearn,
yearn for connection and love and touch.
blessed are we when we hunger for the beauty of life itself and the people to fill it…
teach us to hold on to the truths that enliven our spirits and fill our souls,
and loosen our grip on the painful untruths.
like that we are alone, or unlovable. or that desire itself is the enemy…
there will be no easy addition and subtraction.
we will lose and we will gain
and almost none of it will make much sense at the time…
keep us awake.”

Seeking your own happiness
may cost you everything you have.
Know that it will be worth it.
Keep awake.

It may come at the cost
of disappointing or even hurting others.
Brainstorm tactful ways and do it anyway.
Keep awake.

It may come at the cost
of unlearning who you thought you were
and learning an entirely new
way of being.
Imagine a more expansive reality.
Keep awake.

The seeking will be disorienting
and it will knock you over sometimes.
Ask for loved ones’ hands to steady you.
Keep awake.

Please believe me when I say
that the disorientation
(almost certainly)
will pass.
Give thanks in moments it does.
Keep awake.

There is no happiness more precious
than yours.
Own it; honor it; fight for it.
Keep awake.

 In your keeping awake
or waking up for the first time,
know in your bones
that you are on your way
to a place worthy of all the trouble
you’ve faced –
and maybe created –
to get there.

To get here.

And “here” and “there” will change,
dear one.
They will shape shift
and surprise you.
Sometimes they will frustrate you
and sometimes they will delight you.
Do not let them out of your sight.
Keep awake. 

I cannot tell you
the path you will need to navigate
in order to find and build
deeper happiness,
real happiness.

I cannot say
what it will be like
or look like –
nobody can or should.

What I can say
is that there just might be
better days ahead
than any you’re leaving behind.


Emmie Arnold

Emmie Arnold (she/her/hers) is a hospital chaplain in New York; a Reverend in the PC(USA); avid cook; traveler (on hiatus); friend and family member to many; writer; and musician.


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