Happy Days

Chris and Bobby at Disney World

Chris and Bobby at Disney World

“Happy days.” What does that conjure up in your mind? The Fonze? Carefree times, now gone? A yearning for joy to replace mental illness (MI)?

Does your mind wander back to happier days before MI hit? Or do your senses sabotage your emotions?

One day, I visited our son’s former Christian elementary school. To attend the funeral of a loved one. I cried more AFTER the service ended. It’s because I chose to exit the building through the classroom hallways.

The familiar smell of the building instantly transported me back 25 yrs. Back when Chris was in elementary school. Back when life seemed less complicated. Back when Chris’s eyes sparkled with joy.

Funny how one whiff of a building can flood you with feelings you had forgotten. Like an electric shock, the aroma jolted my thoughts to days when Chris seemed happy-go-lucky. Memories rushed through my mind. Suddenly, I “saw” Chris bouncing into my classroom at the end of the day to share what he’d learned. I “heard” his young voice telling me what he did at recess.

I “heard” him share happy news. “Mom, we’re going to go on a field trip to the science museum. I’ll get to see what a real planetarium looks like. I can’t wait!” Echoes from the past so real they tempted me to look for an apparition.

I had shoved those scenes deep into my memory. Locked them into a trunk stored in the attic of my mind.

Don’t unpack those memories, Vicki. Don’t even consider mentally caressing them for a second. Those times are gone. Love Chris for how he is now. Be grateful for glimmers of Chris’s personality and joy.

I quickly exited the building. Barely making it to my vehicle before violent sobs overtook me. I sat in the car with streams of tears pouring down my cheeks. As painful as it was, I needed that moment of private grief.  I needed those precious reminders of the son I know and love. God ministered to me in that quiet sanctuary.  He gently reminded me that Chris is still there. Locked behind an illness that masks his joy and peace.

Other aromas spark emotion. Reminders of happy days include: ballpark franks, burning leaves, boardwalk fudge, movie popcorn, Thanksgiving turkey, new school supplies, and Grandma’s perfume.

We wonder if we’re making any difference at all in the lives of those around us. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were the fragrance that stirs someone’s heart for Jesus? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 tell us, “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.”  (MSG)

Imagine that…through us, God is spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

Reflect on this sentence:

“God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.”

Easter lilies remind us of another happy day…of when Jesus washed our sins away. Enjoy “Oh Happy Day.”



2 thoughts on “Happy Days

  1. Hi Vicki,
    This will be short for now as people doing a new air conditioner system in our home today and I like to see what they are doing.

    But just in reading your words, it absolutely brought tears to my eyes for many reasons and many emotions in the experiences you shared.

    I just got the sweetest letter, printed out like a child would, from my son, who is, as you know, incarcarated. I have not spoken to him since February and this is the first letter from him. I read it 3 times the first day and then again in the coming days. It was so precious and my tears are beginning again just thinking about it. This is my Keith, the real one, sober and thoughtful and the heart I know so well. He also wrote 2 of my best friends as they had sent him some goodies and he wanted to thank them even though he says he hates to write, he did it! Not enough words in me to express the blessings from these letters. Both these friends have known him since a child and truly love him and he them. I am so proud of him for making the effort and telling them how he is thinking and feeling about where he is in his life! And he is praising God in these letters.
    Am sorry you had such a painful time when in his school but what a beautiful gift for you in God gently reminding you that Chris is still there, though we don’t see the evidence as we would like, these boys of ours are still in there. Thank God he sends us such times, albeit painful in the moment, joyful in the victory of knowledge that God is with us, guiding and gifting us with His love thru these memories.

    So, mom to mom, know, Vicki, I truly know what you are feeling as you have those precious moments when you see the true Chris and his heart and soul when he is himself, the precious boy you raised and know and love, just like me. Moments of blessings from God!

    Will write more again.



    • Hi Patty,
      What a wonderful gift to receive that letter from Keith!!! I’m sure it was like coming across an oasis in a desert…the barren land of these times without your son.
      We moms know the effort it takes for our troubled kids to reach out. How awesome Keith also wrote to your 2 friends.
      Yes, it’s such a blessing when God shows us our sons are still there…when we catch glimpses of their sweet personalities. This weekend we’ll be participating in a street-wide yard sale. Chris will be helping me and selling some of his own stuff. I’m really looking forward to spending the day with him (not to the energy I’ll need to expend!).
      Enjoy your new air conditioning (what a woman to watch what they’re doing when installing it!).

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