Mike and Lisa and I had some great conversations this past weekend. Mike is one of my brothers, and Lisa is his wonderful wife. Seriously, she’s like the woman described in Proverbs, you know the one who rises early and looks after the ways of her household. We were in Myrtle Beach so we did a lot more than natter away. We went to a movie, dined out, and did some shopping. The weather wasn’t conducive to beach activities, but we did manage to cruise down the boulevard for a glimpse of the mighty ocean.

But back to the conversations. One of the things that came up at lunch Sunday was happiness, and I said that I thought God wanted us, as his children, to be happy. I see our relationship to Him as similar to a parent’s relationship to a child. I love my children with a fierce love, and I sincerely want them to be happy. To do so, however, they have to make some good choices. They might falter and fall and take side paths, and when and if they do so, they’ll find some temporary pleasure. Not happiness, mind you, but temporary pleasure.

As a parent, I watch their progression through life with concern and love, and if one of them takes a “wrong” path or makes a poor decision, my heart hurts. Sometimes I might even wail and moan and ask, “Why???” However, my love for them is constant and not contingent on their behavior. They’re my children, and God sent them to me to love and guide, and regardless of what they might do, I’d cut them out of the will or snicker and say, “I told you so.”

All of the above is hypothetical, of course, since my three children are perfect!

At Sunday lunch, Lisa said she wasn’t sure whether God’s intention for us was to be happy or whether it was for us to find joy despite our suffering. Can you see why I love these family conversations? We challenge each other to think and seriously ponder some serious (and some not-so-serious) issues.  Being stubborn, I stated that YES, I think He wants for us to be happy just the way I want Carrie, Elizabeth, and Paul to be happy. Furthermore, I think we as mortals disappoint our Heavenly Father on a daily basis, but He never disowns us or wags his finger in derision.

I’m out of time (duty calls), so I’ll end with this: If a person wants to be happy, truly happy, and receive all of the multitudinous blessings that her Creator has in store, then she has to follow some basic commandments. Just like there are some very real “life laws” for success (just ask Dr. Phil), there are also some very real life laws for happiness (just ask God).

I hope someone out there disagrees with me. I’d love to get involved in a good discussion.