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What Makes You Happy?

Finally the day is over! I’m exhausted, but having my first fifteen minutes free all day,  I decide to take a break to write my weekly journal and this is what I thought of for you…

Oh My! Too many tasks to observe. Time is flying between meetings, assignments, plans and too-short breaks. Although I felt tired already in the morning, I was full energized when my manager asked for a plan covering the current situations in Jerusalem. I felt challenged: excited to do my best touching upon the unique heritage of this holy city. This really lifted me up.

But this was not the main highlight of my day. Despite being completely absorbed planning for the Jerusalem coverage, my mind was totally occupied thinking of a word.  Yes, one word but it weighs heavily. Actually it came from an observation my mother threw out during our quick morning chit-chat, “Oh girl, I think you look happy today, any good news?”

Flying out the door to catch the bus, I smiled with a confidence that everything continues to go just fine. Work is in order, life is smooth. Still, I left home with a different mind.  A mind that resounds without a stop one word: “Happiness.” Do I really feel Happy? Of Course I Am! Sure I am happy. No doubt. Wait. Do I feel Happy!? I tried to shut down the idea of questioning my being happy. But it seemed too late to close the curtain. All the way to work my mind never stopped giving hints: What if my “happiness” is not real, is not true?!

“Smile, though your heart is aching. Smile, even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky.You’ll get by…If you smile.”

To give my mind a break, I decided to make use of the bus time writing a list of things that brings me happiness. I recalled the blessings God grants me and I could not count them all out of being too much (thank God!).

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I recalled my life stages and how I moved with both hardships and good luck till I partially built a career that suits my potential (thank God for this too). And I recalled how many friends I have, people I know, communities I deal with: Wow! Friends are always around. What a joy! I am a lucky person. Thank God again and again!

What Makes You Happy? - About Islam

Such calculations rested my mind for a while, reconfirming that very first feeling that I have happiness. I even fell asleep for few minutes because of this conclusion. When I woke up to the horn of the bus — we were as usual stuck in a bad traffic jam — I surprisingly felt… empty. No! I am not that happy! 

I may be stable in my life because of all the blessings I mentioned before.  But there is a missing thing that I should figure out. We, human beings, are used to taking what comes to us without pondering on its significance. We take things for granted. Torn between life and work responsibilities, we rarely stop to pursue the value of that which we are blessed with. How many times do you appreciate smiles? Do you feel how precious your smile is? Do you know how many people cannot even smile because of the hard lives they have?

How many times do you search for happiness for yourself and people around you? Do you easily give up? Do you relate happiness to a challenge that you decided bravely to face so you can turn your life for the better? Do you even relate happiness to worship and you exert yourself to observe your faith as well as possible? Or do you just feel happy when you get a bonus, a wife, a husband, or when you hang out with friends…

Just try to define this complicated word “happiness.” Write down one single sentence that shows how you perceive your happiness. Believe me, you will find it not as easy as it looks! I am still trying to fashion this one sentence! Holding the pen to write what comes to me when thinking of happiness, a verse from Surat An-Najm was all I could put on the white paper:

And that it is He (Allah) Who makes (whom He Wills) laugh, and makes (whom He Wills) weep.” (An-Najm 53:43)

Let’s think together, may be you and I reach a common definition of “the happiness.” My fifteen-minute break was gone! Back to after-work work! But, big but, back with a smile which I know how valuable it is.

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About Rasha Mohammad
Rasha Mohammad studied English literature at Al-Alsun University, Cairo. Her interests include travel, reading, chocolate and green apples.