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And then, the morning came.

Jennifer Vasquez

Edvard-Munch-The-Sun “[We] can only come to morning through the shadows.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Right here in Central Florida, we have our very own mecca. Millions of pilgrims flock to it every year, but this mecca does not involve a deity, or worship, or a religion. Or does it?

It’s the mecca of happiness, where your dreams come true. These millions of pilgrims might not crawl there on their knees, but they often travel thousands of miles and pay a pretty price for their happiness, especially considering the cost of carrying a screaming baby around at 10:30 at night, while pushing two toddlers in a stroller, in an attempt to squeeze every bit of happiness out of the overpriced day.

Most of us worship our own happiness, maybe every day, or at least on occasion. We devote a lot of time and money towards it, but it’s always so elusive, so “just around the corner.”

And where does such a pursuit leave us when hard times come? When we lose a job. When a loved one dies. When, as much as we repeat and hear that “everything will be okay,” things still don’t work out as we had planned. When we just have a bad day.

There is no place for the pursuit of happiness in our quest. We will be forever treading water. The goal is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. This entails gratitude and thankfulness for where we are and what we have – even, or probably especially, for the hard stuff. This is very difficult. It is discipline. It requires the greatest effort. It is impossible…on our own.

He was despised and acquainted with grief. And then, the morning came.

(Painting by Edvard Munch)