Risking Happiness

Sister Bernice Pasiowitz, OSF
February 6, 2020
Sister Patricia Simpson, OSF
February 20, 2020

By Sister Sharon Havelak, OSF 

Risking Happiness

I usually don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never had much faith in them. This year was different, however. I just knew what I had to do. It was pretty simple. It was, actually, pretty silly.  It was to: Be happy!

I didn’t really know where the idea come from. It just came. And I just knew it felt right.

It wasn’t as if I had been unhappy before. I think I can honestly say I’m satisfied with what I’m doing and how it’s going. I’m still coming to terms with last year’s deaths of my sister-in-law, after an 8-1/2-year battle with cancer, and my nephew who died suddenly in a car accident and I do worry about family members, but while there’s sadness, it’s not unhappiness.

Nor was it a simplistic desire to “Don’t worry; be happy” as the 80’s song advised. It’s more like a desire to simply take things as they come, do what I can and do my best, but leave the self-imposed guilt behind – all the shoulds and coulds and woulds. But, most of all, just rejoice in the goodness in my life.

Perhaps it’s the realization that the everyday stuff tends to consume me; I get stuck in it. It’s easy to miss the beautiful sunset, the driver who lets me in when he really didn’t have to, the laughter of the students in the hallway and a million other wonderful little things that happen every day. How much richer my life is when I pay attention to the everyday gifts around me every day!

It’s also a matter of being honest with myself. As a Christian with a responsibility to spread the Good News, shouldn’t I look like Good News? How much fuller my life is when I face the day, each day, with a sense of the abundance of God’s blessings. Bill Short, a Franciscan friar, reminds us of the overflowing abundance of God and our call to generously share that abundance, God’s generosity, with those around us, especially those in need.

So, it’s February! How am I doing?

Well, I’m still up to my elbows with things to do. I’m still trying not to let myself get overwhelmed at times. I’m still trying to figure out the most responsible way for me to address the big issues of our day, locally, nationally and globally. I’m still trying to find gracious responses, lifting other’s burdens where I can, and sometimes just lending a listening ear, and trying to find even more gracious responses when I simply can’t help.

But I’ve also taken time to read a couple novels, watch a couple movies, and go out with a few friends!

I’m not sure what the rest of the year will bring. But I’m ready! With all the beauty and goodness around me – and my determination to remain as aware of it as I can and rejoice in it! – I think this is one resolution I can keep!

Sister Sharon Havelak

Justice and Peace

Sister Sharon is an artist, educator and long-time peace activist, who currently oversees All Good Things, a store/gallery/gift shop featuring art by the Sisters, handmade soaps and lotions, and Fair Trade products.*

She also serves as the coordinator of the Sylvania Franciscan’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation efforts, and teaches art history at Lourdes University. She keeps her creative juices flowing by painting on silk scarves.
* All Good Things gallery is located in our Sylvania Franciscan Village and many of the items are sold on our website.

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Kendra Edinger Vamos
2 months ago

I’m interested in purchasing note cards. Years ago I purchased beautiful cards that were designed by Sharon Havelak (Pine Cone Press). The one I have left has a stenciled dove carrying an olive branch with the message “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends, You talk to your enemies.” Moshe Dayan. During these difficult times we need messages like this reminding God’s children what we’re being called to do. I pray these beautiful cards are still available.

Janet
1 year ago

Terrific Sharon. I like it a lot.

Sister Mary Irenaeus
1 year ago

Thank you for your “happy” thoughts. I enjoyed them. It made me take an account of my “happinesses” in my life. Like you, I get caught up in so many things and forget that happiness makes my life better, richer and gives me a sense of simple joy making others happy by just simple acts of love and kindness. Trying to be happy unclogs our mind from all the problems around us. Helps us to face each day with the many graces God bestows on us to be an instrument of spreading peace and joy to others. Happiness be yours… Read more »

Shannon Schrein
1 year ago

Thanks, Sharon. I have always thought that happiness was the true measure of a vocation. If it makes you happy, then it also makes God Happy. Thanks for the reminder.

Mary Thill
1 year ago

Good resolution and great suggestions for Lent…our “favorite” season.
Thanks!

Kateri
1 year ago

Love your thoughts on “Be Happy”, Sharon. It’s a deliberate choice I make and want to keep more faithfully. Thanks!

Maira Pacelli
1 year ago

Thank you, Sharon for a wonderful reflection. This is a resolution that we can all relate to.

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