Happiness, Where Did You Go?

Tanni - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on September 16, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Happiness, an emotion so obsessed about on a daily basis, but what truly makes a person happy? What makes you happy? When you thought about this question did you think about something materialistic? Maybe it was your new car or truck or laptop. Now think again, what really and truly gives you pure joy? I am sure some wonderful things have come to mind and maybe even made you smirk a little as you thought of them. As for me, I found happiness in the place I least expected it.

I stood outside of the small newly built house with the rest of the group. The house was no bigger than my garage, but it meant the world to the family. It was as if everyone’s hearts were combined and we all felt the same way. Happy. Really and truly happy. Of course that’s not the only emotion running through us, but it was definitely the strongest.

My parents had brought the idea to the family one day, “We were talking to your Uncle Jamie, and his church goes down to Rocky Point every year to build houses for the people living in poverty, we think it would be a great opportunity for the family to go,” my dad told us. My sister and I weren’t exactly gung ho on the idea but we were willing to give it a try. When we arrived at the campsite, there were hundreds of people, all with the same intention. To serve. Serve who? Complete strangers, but at the same time brothers and sisters that have been waiting for us.

It was only a few days that we were there, but with the number of people working together as one we were able to build four houses and a church. Each group got assigned to a house and to a family. Words could not explain the gratitude these people had towards us. Although there was a language barrier between the two groups, it wasn’t hard to understand. Where words fail, emotions speak.

So as I stood outside this house with my new friends, my family, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with joy. I had made an impact on someone’s life, and they would never forget it. They no longer had live in a shack made of cardboard with their small children hoping that it didn’t get too hot or too cold. For a small sacrifice of my time, I gave them hope, happiness and the desire to keep their heads up and be strong. All the hardships of working from sun up to sun down mixing cement in wheel barrows, was paid off in that moment. Money could never give what this family gave and that was thankfulness.

I challenge you to go and serve because I know that it will make you happy, the kind of happy that fills your heart with warmth and makes you want to continue to help. You may be one person, but you can make a difference. I believe that serving others is the key to true happiness. I believe that those who are less fortunate can teach you more than you could learn in a lifetime. I believe that people who have lived with nothing know true happiness because they have learned to be happy regardless of their situation, these people are the strongest people I have ever met. So when you wonder where happiness went, look in the place you least expect it.