One of my grandkids’ favorite silly songs is the one that goes:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will really show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

The next verse tells us to stomp our feet if we’re happy and we know it. The last verse tells us to shout “HOORAY!”

What do you do when you are happy and you know it? If you are like me, you don’t clap, stomp, or shout “HOORAY.” You remain even keeled. You downplay the good in front of others because so many are struggling and you don’t want to appear as if things are wonderful. And, you fear that close on the heels of all that clapping, shouting, and stomping will be something to take away the happiness. The catastrophizer in me kicks into gear.

I don’t do happy well. And I am feeling a bit ashamed about that.

Our faith tells us that the spiritual life is a series of times of consolation and times of desolation. If we are aware and believe it, we see God’s gift of those grace-filled moments where love and goodness overwhelm us. Give us cause for clapping, stomping, and shouting. Consolation.

Life also provides us with many times when through our own fault or not, we are faced with moments that bring us to our knees. Times when we feel very alone. When the connection to God’s love and goodness seems to fade or disappear altogether. Desolation.

The good and bad news is that these cycles follow each other.

When we feel the joy of consolation, we need to accept the reality that it won’t last forever, but while it does, we should allow ourselves the freedom to revel in it and let others see how amazing it is. When you’re happy and you know it, that is you know from where it comes, clap, stomp, and shout! Let your face show it. If more of us did, maybe it would be contagious. Instead of harming others, it might just heal others. It might just give others hope.

Because just as we need to be aware that consolation won’t last forever, we also need to know that desolation won’t either. Those times when life brings us to our knees and we feel disconnected are times of powerful growth. Growth isn’t easy, but if we allow it and don’t fight it, the transformation can be life changing. At those times we need to trust that a loving God is on His knees next to us and promises to be clapping, stomping, and shouting with us again, soon.

I want to really enjoy the love and goodness when it enters my life with a bang. It’s the least I can do to show my gratitude. The more time we take to reflect on and live the happiness, the more fuel we will have when we are struggling. More memories of the good that inevitably will come again.

These cycles can last minutes, hours, days, weeks, or years. They are an inevitable part of life here. The cycle stops once we enter life there, and know the ultimate consolation.

Now that is something to be happy about.



Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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