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Berdine's Corner

Happiness is Within

by Kenney Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

On a cloudy day, you may not be able to see the sun. But it is always there. The look of dreary, muggy, dark, depression may be all around. But we all know, the sun is in the exact spot it was yesterday.

In our lives we often are worn down with this same dark dreariness. The pattern of events in our lives is bound to leave us at that state at one point or another. But just as the sun is always in the sky, happiness is always within us.

I had a dream about my mother, Berdine Dennard a few days ago. Or possibly it was an experience. In it she came from behind as I lay half sleep and gave me a huge hug. I woke up and opened my eyes. I couldn't begin to describe the amount of joy in my heart. I've had these dreams/experiences before. So this time, I was very comfortable so I started to speak. I said loudly that I wanted to do more than feel her, I wanted to see her. After a moment, I only saw a picture of my mama in which she looked to be in her mid thirties. She had a smile on her face that I could never explain. She seemed happier than I had ever in my life seen her. At that moment, I did something strange. I began to cry. I cried harder than I can remember crying before. What was strange about it is I wasn’t sad. I was crying from happiness.

I woke up with tears in my eyes. I thought about that moment for the next few days.

My mama was one of the happiest persons I've ever known. She would get upset lots of times. She was not a perfect person. But she had genuine happiness. When there was things in her life that you would think would bring her down, they would. But only for a short period of time. She had a true happiness inside her soul. She taught that to me while she was living. I remember coming to her about when I was trying to make a decision on what I wanted to do in college. I named various career choices. She told me that it would be great to do either of those but she wanted me to do whatever was going to make me happy. That's what was most important.

I learned early that money, clothes and material things only satisfy our pleasures. If you're into having those pleasure satisfied that's great. But never look to them to bring you happiness. Pleasure is more dependent on our five senses. Happiness is independent of them. Eating gives you pleasure, drinking gives you pleasure. For some, smoking brings you pleasure, and some others drugs, sex and or many other things bring you pleasure. But those are all immediate pleasures. What makes you happy?

Happiness usually comes when you are independent of things. When are we usually happy? The feeling comes when some problem has been solved, a burden has been lifted or a fear has disappeared. We also experience it when a desire or ambition has been fulfilled. Or when we receive something that we really want. Happiness also comes when we are assured the love of someone dear to us. At those times the tension that has been accumulating while we were pursuing, waiting, expecting or desiring is released. Some tension, worry or burden has been lifted. Happiness erupts from inside.

My mother left this world. All of those things were lifted. She is worry free from now on. She is happy. In my mind the next day, I thought about her joined with her brothers Sugar and Lee and her mother and father as well as uncles and grandmothers. I just thought, if there is such a place between heaven and earth where all of her family are now. She is extremely happy. At that moment a huge burden, a huge cloud was lifted from my spirit as well. I cried. But I thought... Wow... How happy she must be.

Don't get me wrong, you mustn't die to be happy. But you must find away to release the burdens. Let things go. Live free. Be happy. I did.

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