They Came My Way
The Happiness Traveler
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”
It was 1968, the most tumultuous year in the last half of the 20th century. Internationally, North Korea seized the US Navy ship Pueblo in January. In February the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, the turning point of the Vietnam War. Russia invaded Czechoslovakia.
In America President Johnson announced he would not seek or accept a presidential nomination for a 2nd term of office. Martin Luther King was slain on April 4th in Memphis. Two months later in early June, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles. 60 Minutes was launched as it began its reign as the longest running prime-time TV show. Apollo 8 and its astronauts, Borman, Lovell and Anders, became the first people to orbit the moon.
The Beatles won the Album of the Year Grammy for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band while the 5th Dimension won record of the year with Up, Up and Away. The Big Screen brought forth some blockbusters, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Funny Girl and The Lion In Winter.
On August 16th in Arcadia, CA, two families, The Griffiths and The Williams provided a community celebration when 600 guests attended the Friday evening wedding of Judy Griffith and Russell Williams.
Judy and my brother, Doug, had attended Kindergarten together and were friends throughout elementary, junior high and high school. But, I did not meet Judy until Easter Week, 1964, when I was a high school Senior and she was a Sophomore. By summer time Judy and I were An Item and already planning how many children we would have and considering their names!
Can you believe that? Probably not. But, it’s true!
Yes, on April 7, 1964, The Russ & Judy Partnership Run began. It has now gone down the road 48+years embracing forty-four years of marriage, four children and four grandchildren. That’s what we might call a mutual commitment, although I regularly joke each August as Anniversary time roles around that I would like to negotiate an annual renewal agreement.
What do most men learn about such partnerships with the woman of their life? The simplest way to put it… I will expand on why…most men learn that there is a true life axiom that goes like this: Behind every good man, there’s a better woman! That pretty much sums it up! But, why do most women make the man in their life better?
Be assured, it’s not because a woman sees her husband as an endless Fix-Up Project. No, nothing so grates upon a man’s need for respect than to have the woman in his life whispering a broken-record message, “Come On, Honey, you can do-be better than that!”
Good women exercise far greater discernment and life skills than to periodically find moments to knock some sense into their man. Women of wisdom, like my Judy, discover Well-Being, Happiness, Grace…whatever name you give it, that results in a woman’s worth and dignity experienced by others as sunlight touching a cool stream at dawn. Well-Being is always contoured by personal discovery and adversity. Once integrated into the Self, Well-Being becomes a life gift that a woman continually offers to others and most certainly to her man.
By the time Judy and I were twenty years into our marriage, she was living with the gift of worth and dignity. It expressed as Well Being…that looks outward to connect with deep appreciation for others and with the ability to come along side others in their struggles. Clearly, Judy became this person for me…one who struggled with poor self worth.
Today, Judy’s gracious Well Being has matured like an oak tree offering shade. People know that being with Judy is to feel the overshadowing of shading… protection…a presence of renewal from periodic life storms. There is a steadiness about Judy. One knows that The Good is with them when they are with her. Judy’s children and friends trust the steadiness of The Good offered with warmth and caring. Her happy steadiness is like a perpetual smile that greets a frowning world. It is unexpected and rich with kindness.
Years ago, Judy became acquainted with the interior place of this steady, happy self. It made itself known to her as Light. Over the years this Light has come in times of challenge and anxiety for her and on behalf of concerns she had for others. This Light does one thing. It always offers Well-Being. Over the years, as Judy has been touched by this Light, it has become her companion that heals and offers hope.
Today, Judy lives a busy personal and professional life as a Happiness Traveler. Such a description, Happiness Traveler, is meant to convey the movement of something Good that is purposefully in action.
As a Happiness Traveler Judy moves offering support and affection for her husband; listening and accompanying her children; laughter and companionship with friends; guidance for her elementary students; and unceasingly praying for many…both known and unknown. Most of all this Happiness Traveler offers gratitude.
This Happiness Traveler pursues her values. She offers Light to family, friends, professional colleagues and a world where she is always ready to greet a new friend.
Put one-hundred good men in a room and ask each to comment about the woman in their life. Every one of them will say, “Why she is the best thing that ever came my way.”
So, as one good man, I would like to once again, repeat, “Why Judy is the best thing that ever came my way!”