These past two weeks the young writer ministry ‘Press Service International’ (PSI) has been celebrating three accolades from the 2019 Australasian Religious Press Association conference in Christchurch.
First, Press Service International (the young writer ministry) was awarded ARPA’s premier award, The Gutenberg. Second, Sophia Sinclair a former young writer and PSI chief editor was elected the new President of ARPA and third, Kiwi young writer Matthew Thornton (Auckland) was awarded a ‘Bronze’ in the ‘New Best Writer’ category.
It seemed fitting therefore for us to highlight the only other ARPA Category winner – that was an ARPA 2015 GOLD for Auckland’s Casey Murray – her title “Because I’m happy …kind of” - here is that GOLD Award article.
Title - Because I’m happy... Kind of
Casey Murray, Auckland, NZ
I have too many clothes. I tried to cull my wardrobe, but I have too many nice things that I can’t bring myself to get rid of. I just moved house and the sheer volume of clothes to move was a royal pain in the derriere.
I am on a work trip in Sydney staying in a nice hotel, but the hair dryer makes my hair go flicky and no-one picked up when I called for room service – twice I might add.
One of my fingernails broke and the nail polish on my toenails is chipped.
I can’t eat the Strawberries and Cream lollies because they have gluten, so I have to have the flake chocolate bar instead (coeliacs 4 lyf).
My thighs are too big, my boobs are too small and my left eyelashes just aren’t curly enough.
These are the first world problems that, with their powers combined, transform from minor frustrations into WORLD-ENDING-CALAMATIES that plague my mind and ruin my day.
Given the ridiculousness of these complaints I have to ask myself: what will it take for me to just be happy?
Are you happy?
If I asked you to pick the one that you think you need to make you happy, how quickly could you answer? If you’re anything like me, the number one thing will instantly come to mind. Then you’ll stop and think “actually, that would be nice as well… and that would make me happy… and I would definitely be happier if that wasn’t an issue.” Then suddenly I am back to having a long list of things that ‘need’ to be attained or fixed before that elusive happiness can be reached.
The problem is that even though the absence of these things makes me unhappy, I know that having them wouldn’t necessarily make me completely happy either. But still I pine for them. Ah, the eternal troubles of the irrational mind.
So what exactly am I looking for here? If my ‘happiness’ is so fragile that even a fingernail has the power to dislodge it, is it the best thing for me to pursue? Is the pursuit of happiness the best basis to make decisions on?
A Fleeting Revelation
The thing about writing articles about these kinds of topics is that no matter what I say, no matter how deep my self-reflection is I know I’m just going to go back to my old habits.
No matter how many times I’m reminded that I’m “beautiful just the way I am”, I’m still going to be grumpy the next time I put on a dress and look at my legs in the mirror. No matter how many times I tell myself not to sweat the small stuff, I’m still going to want to cry when someone eats gluten-tastic food in front of me. And the more I worry about whether or not I am happy, the more I find things to be unhappy about.
The Temporary High
Happiness is a rollercoaster. It can flip in an instant. A surprise bunch of flowers can bring great joy, a misbehaving printer can have you tearing your hair out just as quickly (and in my office it regularly does). It is precarious and often situation-dependant.
Rather than happiness, in my life I hope for contentment. When the people, activities and things that make me happy aren’t there, I still want to feel content with my life and who I am. When the inevitable disasters strike – even the irrational and petty ones – I still want to have a solid foundation so that I don’t fall apart.
If I’m going to get extra deep, perhaps a loftier goal is to strive for integrity. The strength to hold my head up through the unhappiness, the confidence to recognise and embrace happiness whenever I can, and the desire to share it with loved-ones and strangers alike. As I invest in the people around me, pursue my passions and stay true to myself and my beliefs, the moments of happiness will come.
Because I am happy… Kind of.
2013 2nd NZ Basil Sellers Award 2013
2014 1st NZ Basil Sellers Award 2014
2015 ARPA GOLD.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html