Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'll Have What He's Having

What is it that makes us happy? Is it money? Love? Is it a good job, a nice house? What does it take to make us really, truly happy in this life? Apparently my friend IJ knows, because when I saw him a couple of days ago he was almost glowing.

IJ found himself unemployed after our company eliminated several jobs in January 2009. So he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of working in law enforcement. After months of testing and interviews, he made it all the way to the final cut for the police department, but lost out because the university he had attended did not get a copy of his college transcript to the department before the deadline. After that, he lost a store security job for essentially "doing the right thing". It's a long story, but if he had to do it all over again, he'd do the same thing and so would I. So then he tried out for the Sheriff's Department where once again, he made it through weeks and weeks of testing only to be cut from the final 12 applicants. IJ recently parted ways with his long time girlfriend and the mother of his young daughter, who had used, manipulated, and taken him for granted for years. Since he was unemployed, IJ ended up moving back in with his mother. This series of events would leave most people curled up in the corner....but not IJ.

After he lost the security job, IJ turned it all over to God. He cut out bad food and alcohol, and started working out. If I had to take a guess, I'd say he dropped about 40 lbs...and then got really buff. He started teaching self defense to women and is also licensed to administer CCDW classes. He now realizes the toxicity of the relationship he was in and has vowed never to go back to it. He has some prospects for security management positions, but for now is content to teach his classes and work weekends at the home improvement store. He no longer gets to live in the same house with his daughter, but the time he does have with her is all quality. He tries to make the very most of every single minute.

So all the things that are supposed to make us happy have been taken away from IJ. At this moment IJ doesn't have a partner in his life to make him feel good about himself. He doesn't have a house. He doesn't have a "career". He's nobody's boss. But he has employment for which he is very grateful, and he's the boss of himself. And I think that's the key. He's found happiness from within, and happiness with God. All the worry and stress that used to be on his face is gone and he looks relaxed, healthy and content. I actually felt jealous after spending an hour with him. I just kept thinking "I want to be there!".

I'm happy for my friend IJ, and I wish him continued peace and prosperity. I just know God has a special plan for him.

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