Most of the frustrations and unhappiness we face in life stem from our inability to recognize and accept the gifts of Spirit.
I had the wonderful privilege of meeting a delightful lady who attended a recent workshop that I offered in Honolulu, Hawaii, entitled "The Secret of Happiness." She expressed profound gratitude for the workshop and said she was glad to attend. From all appearances, she looked satisfied with her life. However she later revealed that she had been battling long-standing loneliness. After a 30-year marriage which ended five years ago in unfriendly terms, she has been unable to acclimatize herself to traditional means of getting into a new relationship, such as dating.
"It has been a long time since I’ve been on a date and the whole idea is so awkward," she said. As a result, she devoted her energies to her job. After work, she would go back to an empty home to watch TV, do some reading or take care of other chores around the house.
It surprised me that Divine Spirit had allowed such a delightful soul to go for such a long time without helping her in some way to meet people. Curious, I asked if she could remember experiencing any extraordinarily happy moments in the five years since her divorce. This is when the conversation became quite interesting.
Her happiest moment was three years ago when her neighbor’s golden retriever gave birth. The neighbor was generous enough to give her one of the puppies as a Christmas present. The puppy was a great companion – always happy and ready to play without prior notice. Not only that, but each time she took the puppy for a walk, strangers would stop to pet the puppy. They would ask the puppy’s name, breed and how old it was. This gave the lady opportunities to meet many people, both men and women that she would have otherwise not met.
But she said that she decided to give the puppy back to her neighbor. "Why?" I asked in disappointment.
"You won’t believe what the puppy did," she said. I couldn’t wait to hear what the three-month old puppy did. One day the lady came home to find all her expensive shoes ripped to pieces by the young dog. There were teeth marks all over her expensive Italian-design leather sofa. The puppy even chewed on the leather cover of her sacred book, the Bible. There were clothes all over the floor together with dog food and urine. The puppy was apparently enjoying an exclusive party in her absence, as there was no one to play with.
"I was just so upset that I had no choice but to return it. It was either that or take it to the humane society," she said.
"I see," I responded with a smile. "It’s a good thing you didn’t take a more severe measure to redress the atrocities committed by the puppy, like capital punishment."
This was when her heart finally opened to recognize the gift of Spirit. The puppy was a divine instrument to attract the people she needed to fill the void she felt. But she lost patience with the innocent vehicle.
Spirit is always on standby trying to use every means and everything at its disposal to satisfy our needs. The question is, "Are we willing to recognize and accept this relentless generosity?" It is important to realize that every gift comes with its unique requirements. If you receive a puppy to help open your heart, the requirements include cleaning up after the puppy, feeding it, taking it for a walk, etc. It’s like having a child in the house. One must also be particularly understanding of the puppy’s innocence and remove expensive items from its reach.
In the same way, Spirit will often bring a person into our life to fill a void and open our hearts. Instead of appreciating and taking care of this gift of love, we soon engage in fault-finding. We spend time quarreling because this person persistently puts the box of cereal on the wrong shelf of the kitchen cabinet, for instance. We fight over trivial issues, thereby missing the gifts of Spirit, while at the same time we blame Spirit for not listening carefully to our specifications. Despite our ignorance and ingratitude, Spirit continues to present us with more opportunities to accept God’s love. It’s just the nature of Divine Spirit – Relentless generosities!
A seminar attendee once asked me why I suppose Spirit can be so generous and compassionate, while such attributes are so difficult for humans. The question caught me off guard. I was not quite ready for such a pop quiz. But after a brief contemplation, the following words came out: "I think the reason is because Spirit sees what we do and knows why we do it. But human beings see what we do and have really no idea why we do it."
By recognizing, accepting, and appreciating the gifts of Spirit, we can begin in earnest to unveil the secrets of happiness. May the Blessings Be!