Nothing can bring a smile to my face faster than being greeted by my favorite dog, Toby. Every time I see him, his tail is in full swing with a big smile on his face. I wish I could say I was the reason Toby was so excited, but the truth is, Toby is thrilled to see everyone and anyone! He is livin' and loven’ life every single day because he finds a reason to be happy day in and day out. There are days I have been down and out, struggling to find a reason to be happy. The unfortunate thing is, unlike Toby, I just end up shutting others out and missing out on opportunities. Looking for a reason to be happy can sometimes be hard, but it's always worth it! When will you choose to look for happiness?
These past couple of weeks I had the opportunity to visit Africa with 70 other state officers and got to visit a township called Kayamandi. To be completely honest, my friends and I were kind of nervous to visit the township. We had seen all the commercials showing the living condition in Africa and the solemn faces everywhere. The past two weeks had been spent touring Africa and seeing how it is prospering. Then we were asked to visit a foreign community, and we were anxious to see how it would go.
I have to admit, I have never been so wrong. The second we stepped foot into Kayamandi we were given the warmest welcome I have ever seen, shattering the delusion I had in my head. Our local guides welcomed us to their community with open arms, excited to show us their town. Walking, talking and eating in the township was an eye-opening experience I will not soon forget. The anxiety I was feeling before had transformed to happiness and excitement. We got to see school kids sing, eat local food, and share stories. The people of Kayamandi chose to be happy in their township, even in an area other people may find sadness.
Now many of us, including myself, would be hard pressed to find a reason to be happy in such a place. This was not the case here. But in Kayamandi, happiness radiated from every angle. Everywhere I looked, I saw kids playing, friends talking, and music playing, all with a aura of happiness surrounding themselves. The people there were filled with such genuine happiness it was infectious. They could be sad, but they choose to be happy. They have such a positive outlook on life that it rubbed off on those around them. Each and every day, we are faced with negativity that could keep any of us from seeking happiness and missing out on those around us. So how can you be like the people of Kayamandi? What are can you do to be like a cheerful dog. How are you going to look for the bright side of a situation? How are you going to choose happiness?
Beneath the Rising Sun,