It seems to me that the news consists of two kinds of stories. There are stories of tragedy involving people who are so broken that they hurt themselves and others in often extremely heinous ways. The second involves the people who are so broken that they reach out and share their stories, healing themselves and others. I have been fascinated by this fact for most of my adult life. Why do some people crumble where others thrive? Why do we make assumptions about the lives of others? Why do we give others more value than we give ourselves?
My dad passed away when I was six years old. I think I can fairly say that my family crumbled. I remember personally feeling locked inside of myself, I was shy and scared of my own shadow. I will spare you the details, but I struggled. I realized in my early teen years that I had a choice to make, be a victim of my circumstances or be a supporter of others. What I had not yet realized was that to be a supporter of others, I had to first be a supporter of me.
Flash forward to January 4, 2011, the day I received the call of my brother’s suicide. My brother Scott had tried to fill the void in my family after the death of my dad. He worked so hard to make those around him happy, but he never learned to truly listen to his own Happy. Somewhere along the way he didn’t matter to himself anymore.
I was distraught and grief stricken. He had been my rock and my supporter for so long. How could this happen? I began to crumble. I was once again faced with a choice to be a victim or to be a supporter. I started to study and seek all the information I could about happiness. What makes and keeps a person Happy? All of that energy and information came together in the creation of Eden and Her Happy. It’s hard to see when you pick up this brightly colored children’s book of mine that the intent is to save lives. It has been hard for me to admit that fact publicly until now. For the most part it is just a punchy little book with Eden stomping around looking for her Happy. But the unspoken visual is that her Happy is never gone, it is just buried under her other emotions.
The end of my Eden and Her Happy author visits go something like this:
Me: “Where is your Happy?”
Them: “On the inside!”
Me: “Can your Happy ever leave you?”
Me: “Does it sometimes feel like your Happy leaves you?”
Me: “Who is responsible for your Happy?”
Them: “I am!”
There are 40,000 suicides in the United States every year, 1 suicide every 13 minutes. With statistics like that I imagine I have already read to several children who will someday consider taking their own lives. Maybe, just maybe, Eden will pop into their head and they will see hope. The hope of what can happen tomorrow if they just hold on for one more day. Maybe they will remember their Happy is just buried under their other screaming emotions at that given moment. Maybe they will see that God has given them a Happy just as he has given them life!
Let your Happy shine!