Happiness in your own backyard

If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there….then I never really lost it to begin with.

–Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz


It’s not a big secret to anyone who knows me– The Wizard of Oz is my perennial favorite movie. It’s entered family lore–my parents bought a copy in the early eighties, when VHS tapes were $80+, so I could watch it as a toddler, because it was the only thing that I would actually watch (read: sit still for an extended period of time). When it was over, I burst into tears. Probably because it was over.

Anyway, having watched this movie now for 32+ years, I think there’s a message in it that would do a lot of people good–all of us, actually. The idea that happiness isn’t something that is “over the rainbow.” It’s right here.

At the beginning of the movie, Aunt Em tells Dorothy to find a place where she won’t get into trouble, since everyone else is busy working on the Kansas farm. Dorothy sings “Over the Rainbow”, wondering where this mythical place without trouble is. At first, she thinks it’s Oz. But trouble–big trouble–arrives a lot faster than she would have imagined.

At the end of the movie, when the Tin Man asks her what she’s learned about Oz, she gives the quote I used above:

If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if isn’t there….I never really lost it to begin with

Back in Kansas, when she’s explaining what happened to her, she says, “Some of it was beautiful. But just the same I kept telling everyone I want to go home. And they sent me home!…And this is my house, and my room. And I’m never going to leave you ever, ever again. Oh, Auntie Em….there’s no place like home!”

This is scoffed at by some. Oh, home. Where is home? The definition varies. But the general idea that the movie expostulates is that happiness isn’t something that’s somewhere else. Dorothy had the power to go home–or, to be happy–the entire time she was in Oz. “Why didn’t you tell her before?” The scarecrow asks Glinda at the end of the movie. “She wouldn’t have believed me,” The Good Witch replies. “She needed to find it out for herself.”

When we’re unhappy, it can be easy to think that if we just:

  • had a new job
  • had a spouse
  • had a different spouse
  • had a better friend
  • a better house
  • a better car
  • a better neighborhood
  • a better church
  • a better body
  • a better salary
  • a better whatever

We would be HAPPY!!!!

Um, no. If your happiness depends on external factors, there’s a problem.

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you,” St. Augustine famously wrote. And that’s true. Happiness can really only be found in God, in resting in Him. No amount of rainbow wishes or trips to Oz can make us really happy until we’ve rested in Him.

That’s not to say we won’t ever be unhappy. Of course we will be. No one goes through life completely happy all the time–not even Jesus did that. Darkness will come to everyone. There is a difference, however, between the Big Things of life messing with happiness, and the things that are comparatively small.  Is our happiness so tenuous that it depends on things being precisely as we like them, to exist? To have the right house, the right church, the right neighborhood, the right neighbors….? It shouldn’t be, especially if we’re Christians.

We cannot wish our lives away, thinking, like Dorothy, “if I was only somewhere else….everything would be better!”

Well, no, it won’t be, magically. Because you’ll still be there. And if you’re not content, happy, in yourself–then it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have or how gorgeous your local church is, or how excellent your season tickets to the local pro team’s games are. Lottery winners exemplify this. Saints do, too, except on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Perspetive is a wonderful thing–as is knowing where our true joy, our true happiness, resides.

NDLM_2014_Web_960x400 So today I got to do something super neat–talk to students at my former high school about organ donation! I was jazzed to be back in my old health classroom and at my old school. Some things are the same (the incredible amount of purple, the electronic bells), some things are better (there is an ample selection of Jane in the library, or “Media Center”), and some things are totally different (teachers saying “no technology out, please” before every class, and prom tickets being $50!!!).

I spoke to four different classes about my experience with organ donation–a brief overview of CF (all of the kids had taken biology A at this point so they knew what a “genetic disease” was), how long I was wait-listed, how long the recovery took, some of the surgical ins and out (lungs are like balloons that can be deflated to be inserted, where my scar is). The fact that I had graduated from the school seemed to touch a chord with them–as in, I was once where they were (Literally. Exactly where they were.)

Sometimes organ donation can seem really foreign and exotic, but when you meet someone who’s had it done, I think that really helps. Most of the talk in each class was done by a Lifeline of Ohio community educator, who talked to them about what can be donated, how that’s decided, what it means to be an organ donor, dispelling myths about donation, and using foam organs as visuals, to show them what can be donated, solid-organ wise (in case you’re curious: lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, small intestine, and pancreas; tissue wise: your corneas, muscle, bone, skin, tendons, heart valves).

The classes were enthusiastic and asked a lot of great questions. I had a lot of fun being with them and getting to talk to them about how organ donation doesn’t just save faceless people–I have a family, I have a life because of my donor.

April is Donate Life month. Are you an organ donor? :) :)


Catholic Women’s Daybook No. 57



Outside my window::

Beautifully sunny. Very appropriate for Easter Monday!


Jeans, a grey v-neck t-shirt, a periwinkle cardigan, and flats. I’m going to speak to students at my old high school about organ donation in a bit. :)


St. Faustina’s Diary; Almost-Saint John Paul II’s encyclical Veritas Splendor, and The Goldfinch (like everyone else on that one, it seems)

In the CD player::

Handel’s Messiah–the Hallelujah chorus. Duh. :)

In the kitchen::

Trying some new salad and dinner recipes this week. Tonight I’m making a turkey burger. Tomorrow’s dinner is the “yoga night” two bean chili (It’s really yummy!); Wednesday is sweet potato enchiladas; Thursday, chicken with EVOO and Italian seasoning and roasted asparagus; and Friday I have an audition so I’ll be eating on the run.

Around the house::

The usual cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, etc. Focus is the bedroom this week.

Plans for the week::

Rehab later today, then yoga tomorrow and a CCD review session with Sister; Wednesday rehab, and Friday auditions for The Music Man with PCT. Sunday CCD resumes for the last stretch of the year.


“And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’”

John 28

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!


Easter thoughts from the “Texas Nuns” –Poor Clares :)

Originally posted on Quidnunc:

Christ appearing to the Virgin, from the Miraflores Altarpiece, Rogier van der Weyden, c.1442-1445

The Lord is arisen indeed, Alleluia!

A very blessed Easter to all of you!  The tomb is empty, which means Jesus is back in our tabernacle and all is right with the world.  Father Phillips brought Him back last night after the Easter Vigil and we had the chapel ready with fresh lilies and a gleaming tabernacle, which Sr. Grace Marie lovingly polished in anticipation of Our Lord’s return.

Today also happens to be our Rev. Mother Angelica’s 91st birthday!  Please say a prayer for her today, and join us in thanking God for the gift of her life.  Raymond Arroyo had a lovely little tribute video on The World Over this past week, which we want to share with you.  These are great clips of Mother and her personality shines through: funny, feisty, and full of love for God.  We love you, Reverend Mother, and we are so grateful for your…

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