My youngest son was on a bit of a philosophical high this weekend. He’s eight, but he’s a very wise eight…a true old soul. As we were leaving church and heading to my parent’s house for lunch yesterday morning, Waylan shared this poignant thought from the backseat, “If you don’t know what journey you are on, it doesn’t matter what journey you are on.”

At first, my writer’s brain snatched up the phrase like a hungry anaconda who just spied a tasty afternoon snack. But then my unique processing ability brought me to a screeching halt. His statement made no sense. The straight shot arrow of truth seemed lacking in my understanding of the phrase. I tried desperately to find a slant to this phrase that would ‘WOW!’ others as well as myself. I couldn’t. I finally said,“What does that mean?!”

Waylan cocked his head to one side and looked at me like I had grown three heads in the last five seconds (I get this look a lot). He replied, “It doesn’t matter what journey you are on, if you are ON the journey, it is assuredly the one meant for you.” I may be paraphrasing a bit here, but that is the deep underlying conclusion we reached. Feeling good about this arrival of philosophical food, I texted the phrase to myself and made a silent vow to revisit it later when I had adequate time to write.

Fast-forward an hour later to lunchtime around my parent’s festive dining room table.

Surrounded by comfort food, iced tea, the smell of fall flavored coffee brewing and our family friend, Jane, as the guest of honor. My Mom asked who would like to pray before we ate (my kids had been snacking for the past 30 minutes so were in no rush to get started). Waylan, our familial resident prayer warrior, popped his hand into the air faster than a dog who spotted a new crumb fall from the dinner table.

We all bowed our heads and waited to hear the precious voice of our youngest family member utter words of grace to our Heavenly Father. He started with the typical words…a desire for his mom and dad to be safe, he prayed for a few pets, some living, some long passed, he prayed that he might have fun and be happy. Then he humbly ended his prayer and shifted focus to the steaming food set in front of him.

Our family guest asked Waylan, “Waylan, do you know how we can be happy?”

Taking no time to mull over this familiar existential question, Waylan looked her right in the eyes and said these three simple words, “Just be happy.”

He then proceeded to dive into the feast before him. With a wise look of approval and a gentle smile of appreciation, Jane said, “That is exactly right. We can all be happy if we so choose.”

I was elated to finally have the scope of my next piece. How the most basic and simplistic yet all-encompassing powerful decision to be happy actually allows one to…(wait for it)…BE Happy!

From the journey we are all trotting, whether we recognize its district purpose or not, to the ability to choose our level of happiness, my philosophical heart was emphatically and jubilantly cheering from Cloud Nine.

How wise is this young child of mine to grasp the epitome of purpose it takes some of us years to stumble upon?

And sadly, some never do arrive at this life-changing morsel of truth.

Happiness lies not in our circumstances. Money will never satisfy. Alcohol will never fill the void. A career may temporarily please, but will eventually lead to numb apathy. Relationships can help tremendously, but still leave room for disappointment and unmet expectations.

The only true way to lasting happiness is declaring one’s daily right, one’s humble gifted ability to make it so.

The gratitude we feel and the appreciation we show leads to that overwhelming sense of warmth, peace and pure contentment.

It really isn’t that hard. If an 8-year-old can figure it out, surely we as adults can hone in on the magic elixir of life’s contentment?

When the world around us seems chaotic, intense, full of hatred and division, take the advice of my eight-year-old son, CHOOSE Happiness.

And watch the troubled, tornadic, tumultuous vices of the world fade away into gracious acceptance, cheerful contentment and a tranquil sense of peace. The waves of happiness will wash over you like foamy effervescent sea bubbles upon smoothly bare sun-scorched skin.

Like Dorothy learned in her last moments visiting Oz, the power lies within each of us. Not a red pair of flashy slippers (though they do bring a smile to my face every time I watch the movie), not an updated brain or a powerful heart or even a shot of courage.

The power to be happy is a switch deep within each soul on earth; mine and yours, no exception. We only have to flip that switch to enact the immeasurable power within.

Just BE happy on your journey.


Amannda Maphies has always gone by Manndi; and yes, it has two n’s. It is actually a perfect moniker for her as she’sa bit (more than a bit) zany, wacky, crazy and loves nothing more than to laugh at herself and share that laughter with others. Manndi works fulltime at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, has two boys, William (10) and Waylan (8). She loves to write so she recently started posting on Facebook about her daily adventures about everything from being a single mom of two wild and crazy boys to dating after divorce, to more serious topics such as the loss of a loved one and suicide awareness. She trie to infuse humor, relatability and a touch of inspiration into each of her pieces. One day, she will compile them for a memoir of her life. Manndi’s life motto is ‘live a life you would want to read about’ and she strives everyday to reach others with her words. She feels that you are only as happy as you choose to be and she CHOOSES happiness over all other emotions. She is honored to be featured in a publication named ‘Positively Positive’ because that is truly how she strives to live life.

Image courtesy of Benigno Hoyuela.