it is well.

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.  And you know what happiness is?  Happiness is the smell of a new car.  It’s freedom from fear.  It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay.  You are okay. ”  ~ Don Draper, Mad Men

There are few television shows that Ben and I both enjoy.  The latest we have discovered is AMC’s Mad Men.  It’s a simply fantastic drama that depicts the lives of advertising executives in Manhattan during the 1960s.  An episode we watched last week spurred a conversation – about the difference between happiness and contentment.  When you’re optimist married to a cynic, or as he would claim “realist”, this conversation is bound to be a good time.

Ben has always told me that happiness is fleeting.  It is temporary, a place in time, not a state of being.  It is not something to be pursued because it can not be sustained.  If I ever ask him if he is happy, I get a remark along these lines.  Always.  For a long time, I disagreed with his view of happiness.  But I’ve grown to learn (or he’s convinced/brainwashed me) that happiness is indeed transient.

I haven’t always been happy here in Florida.  Much of that was because of my own attitudes and struggle as I adjusted to life here.  I continue to miss dear friends and family, my old town, and working for a cause I believe in.  But I’ve come to accept – dare I say enjoy – my circumstances.  I’ve entered into a state of contentment.  The two may occur simultaneously, but I believe contentment is a steadfast way of being, while happiness is an easily-altered mood or behavior.  Life in the Navy has reminded me that so much, even in my own life,  is out of my control.  All I can control is how I handle what comes my way.

After our conversation, I was filled with a sense of gratitude.  The things I struggle with most – loneliness and being apart from the ones I love (besides Ben, of course) – still exist.  But I’ve learned to make my life about what I have, not what I lack.  And I am so incredibly blessed.  Life will continue to have it’s difficulties, but Ben and I have weathered many storms together.  I am thankful for the confidence I have in our relationship and the strength we have developed together.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”

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1 Comment

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One response to “it is well.

  1. Hey Kristen! Read this and your most recent about moving to OKC. Wow! Thanks for blessing us with your blogs. It’s good to sort of “catch up” that way. When I finish school (in June), I hope to pick up blogging again! Peace and blessings!
    – Kyle

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