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Story 4: I’ll be happy when …

Patrick Riecke, director, Chaplaincy & Volunteer Services, shares his thoughts on the fourth installment of our series, “The stories we tell ourselves”.

Author Rob Bell tells a story about a rabbi from Cracow who dreams that there's a massive treasure buried under a bridge in a faraway city. As soon as he wakes up, the rabbi packs up and sets out for that city. He journeys for many days, finally arriving at the bridge from his dream.

He hides in the bushes, looking for the treasure he envisioned. Before long, a policeman sees him and calls out to him.

''You there, in the bushes! What are you doing?”

The rabbi realizes he's been spotted and comes out of hiding. He answers: “Well, it sounds absurd now, but I had this dream in which there was a massive treasure buried under this bridge.”

The officer bursts out laughing. “You believe in dreams like that?” he says. “If I believed in dreams like that, then I would have believed the dream I had last week. In that dream I saw a treasure buried under the bed of some rabbi from Cracow.” 

And with that, the rabbi thanked him and then headed for home.

In 2011, there was a story about a 71-year-old French electrician who announced that in his garage he had 271 works by Pablo Picasso. They have been verified as authentic. He said that the master painter gave them to him when he was installing a burglar system for Picasso many decades ago. Their value is incalculable. The trove has been in the French couple’s garage for years, untouched.

So many times we are waiting for something else to happen before we can be happy.

So many times we feel we need to travel to a faraway place.

So many times we feel as though gaining what we lack is our pathway to happiness.

A new job.

A new car.

A new house.

A new piece of technology, outfit or amount of money in our bank accounts.

For many of us, we should just go out to the garage like the electrician. Or look under our beds like the rabbi.

What do you need to be happy?

May I suggest that you don’t need anything more than you already have? May I suggest that you don’t even need much of what you have now? Maybe you don’t have as much money as you would like. Perhaps your family isn’t quite what you prefer. Maybe you hate your job, or events of your life haven’t played out like you had hoped. But you do have everything you need.

Everything you need to be happy.


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