HAPPY HOURS

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. [Psalm 118:23-24 (NLT)]

My biggest fear is waking up to find what matters
Is miles away from what I spent my life chasing after.
Is my story gonna have the same two words in every chapter?
What if, what if? …
What if today’s the only day I got?
I don’t wanna waste it if it’s my last shot.
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what ifs! [Matthew West]

While enjoying discounted drinks and small plates during a local “happy hour” with our old skiing buddies, we reminisced about the many happy hours we spent together in Colorado. One of our favorite lunch (and “happy hour”) spots used to publicize their “happy hour” by spelling out the words in the snow on their rooftop. Since the pub was located right beneath the gondola, skiers couldn’t avoid seeing the message as they rode up the mountain. Tourists would speculate how the words got there and most assumed there were specially placed heat tapes beneath the letters. The letters, however, were carefully stomped out after every major snowfall by a friend who had more enthusiasm than common sense as he jumped from letter to letter on the sloped roof.

For many of us, “happy hour” probably means discounted, beer, wine and cocktails, half-price appetizers, and maybe some entertainment between the hours of 4 and 7. But, is a happy hour really about three hours of discounted drinks and food or a great band?

Today, while listening to Matthew West sing, “What if today’s the only day I got? I don’t wanna waste it if it’s my last shot!” I pondered what makes any of our hours truly happy ones.  It certainly isn’t cheap drinks and food! What kinds of things would an hour of happiness encompass? If you had only a few hours remaining in life, how would you spend them? What would you do to make that hour a happy one? I doubt you would spend them eating and drinking in a bar.

Henry Ward Beecher said, “The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” I have to agree. When I think about happiness, my happy hour includes things like God, family, friends, peace, service, generosity, love, hope, faith, worship, salvation, smiles, hugs, laughter, a few silly games with the grands, and maybe a butterfly or two. There are no discounted drinks, chicken wings, peanuts, popcorn, guacamole, salsa, or chips in the scenario because they have nothing to do with true happiness and joy. Also missing from that picture are things like wealth, success, and fame along with quarrels, resentment, conflict, anger, regret, guilt, heartache, disdain, bitterness, fear, hatred, and animosity. In short, a happy hour is one spent in gratitude. It was gratitude for all that God gave us, not the discounted drinks, appies, or sunshine and powdery snow, that made those hours so enjoyable back in Colorado and continue to do so in Florida!

The man who stomped out those letters on the rooftop? When in his mid-forties, his hours were unexpectedly cut short by a freak accident. I’m sure his family would agree that happy hours should never be limited to a few hours at the end of the day. How will we choose to spend whatever is left of our hours to make them happy ones—the kind of hours truly worth having and remembering? After all, today could be our “last shot!”

Do not look back on happiness, or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it. [Henry Ward Beecher]

Now look here, you people who say, “Today, or tomorrow, we will go to such-and-such a town and spend a year there, and trade, and make some money.” You have no idea what the next day will bring. What is your life? You are a mist which appears for a little while and then disappears again. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live, and we shall do this, or that.” [James 4:13-15 (NTE)]

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