July 4, 2003
July 4, 2003


My daughter called me to tell me that her husband was told by the physician that he had only one month to live. For several weeks neither she nor her husband were able to sleep or eat. It seemed that fear of death was creating so much turmoil that life was going to shorten considerably for both of them if the situation was not remedied.

However, it was not fear of death, but a fear of living with happiness that was damaging their health. I told my daughter that she should look at this warning as a blessing. Now she had time to say goodbye. The quality of life was more important than the quantity. To remind them both that each day is an experience of beauty, grace and happiness. That to value each moment that they had together. Everyone dies. Some sooner. Some later. Cherish life while the person is still alive. Cherish happiness.

Her husband lived five more years. After his death my daughter shared with me her thoughts. She had felt I was unsympathetic, but had followed my advice. She told me that she now realized that by ridding themselves of fear; they could live each day instead of dying each day.

They had transcended the comfort zone of unhappiness. They had let go of the outcome. However, if there are no efforts to be happy; there will always be in a state of unhappiness. You know of people who live in the past which was traumatic, filled with horrors, or everyday hurts. They nurture negativity until it becomes hopelessness. Wondering why did it happen? Why to me? Etc. Etc. Answering those questions are only beneficial if it helps one to move on to the next level. Otherwise the best thing to do is let the hurt go. Would you pour contaminated water in a wound or would you put a salve on it to heal it, in order to not keep it festering?

Ask yourself if you are enjoying life. If not, change it. Easier said than done for some people. There is a Fear of Happiness syndrome. It goes like this: “If I stay unhappy, it won’t hurt so much when the next unhappy situation arrives. My expectations are so low that I can’t be disappointed.” However, every day is miserable. What about all the happiness you missed along the way?

There are ways to change. Be grateful to God, to your spouse, and to your family for what you have. Assess your life and privileges, even if you are poor. How poor are your really? Couldn’t you save if you really tried? Cut out the extravagances. Move to a cheaper abode, eat more economically. Ask yourself; “How can I deal with this situation?” Look at your options.

Telephone your friends, your community resources, or whatever other means that you need to do to lift yourself into a better space, whether that is emotionally, economically, physically, or spiritually. There is always a better answer. The answer won’t appear until you ask the question. Ask the question. Seek the answer.