Soldier and Sunset

Help Finding Happiness

Choose Your Happy blog is excited to share a moving guest post from a man named Ray, who has a different perspective on life and happiness that readers will appreciate. Please enjoy his words and try to reflect on those who previously served or are currently serving.


Sometimes the world puts us in situations where happiness is hard to find and we begin to see negativity as a way of life. Without some form of help, it’s difficult to displace troubling thoughts with a more positive outlook.

As a Soldier, I experienced the murkiness of discontent that can exist amongst chaos. Emotions that can drag a person down and make them feel like there is no hope of seeing any form of future joy; living in the middle of pandemonium causes such thinking on a daily basis. The mind struggles to find even a particle of cheerful comfort, which our souls crave. But still, if we look deep into the abyss of this bedlam, the light is there.

You see, sometimes we find happiness in a smile, the look of wonder in a child’s eyes as they see something for the first time, or the laughter of a loved one when they open a birthday card you picked just for them. No amount of darkness can cloak that happiness; and our souls are touched by it.

For about 160 days of a life once lived in chaos, I kept my happiness in my shirt pocket:

“I know your bizy but I want you to no I am prowd of you and cant wait for you to come home. We will have a party for you and cook hot dogs on the gril. I love you and mis you. Love, Rhea”

I found my happiness in a few words written with pencil on a piece of torn notepad paper. The snippet was written by a 7-year-old little girl who was trying to make a difference in a Soldier’s daily life. It did just that. These words were a beacon to shore when lost in the sea of lunacy, and I swear there seemed to be a hurricane at sea every day.

After the trials of the day, that paper was there to tell me that what I was doing was right and true. I knew that there were people out there who were caring for me while I navigated insane circumstances for them. As I think back, I am amazed that a torn piece of paper was more important to me than the very weapons that had saved my life more than once.

Her words helped me find the happiness that I needed more than ever on some days, and I used it as often as I needed. Believe me, there were times when I needed it more than a drink of water in the desert.

So when you are feeling overwhelmed, look for help in finding happiness. Maybe take a moment to look at pictures of your loved ones, or letters you have saved, and take time to enjoy the feeling of joy they give you.

Sometimes our happiness comes from the most obvious places. And sometimes we find that happiness in a piece of paper with a bunch of misspelled words and a picture of a smiley face at the bottom.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of life’s turmoil and we need to let someone else help us choose happiness. My little girl helped me find mine during the constant state of disorder we call war. Thanks, Rhea.

Ray & His BeardRay is a devoted father to his daughters Rhea, Jessica, and Courtney. He is a Training Instructor at a VA Medical Center and a retired Veteran with 23 years of service in the United States Army. He feels that helping each other is the only way to survive the trials of life. His point of view comes from his faith and life experience. And he has a great beard.


Thank you, Ray, for sharing a snippet of your story. Speaking of sharing, please comment below with your own version of happiness-in-a-shirt-pocket. And maybe add a compliment to the beard for good measure. :)

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  1. I keep a little “token” of happy in the console of my car. Sounds strange, but everytime i find it, I remembere how blessed I am. It is strange and a long story, but it is a tiny plastic “Hello Kitty”. It alerted me to a huge problem and prevented what could have been a really bad day. I just keep it there in my console and it seems whenever I stumble across it, it makes me smile. I realize that even on a really bad day…there is always room for a sweet smile. Thank you for your service Ray. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

  2. First, Thank you for your service!! I feel all of our veterans are underappreciated and do not receive the respect they deserve. Second, Thank you for your story. Nothing I face in a day, could compare to the horrors of war. Surely I can find more happiness in my days, if I just look around a little. Third, awesome beard, Sir.

  3. I carried a “fancy rock” for 6 months.
    It was just a smooth little round black rock. It had striations across it of some contrasting mineral. I still don’t know what kind of rock it is but I still have it.
    I smuggled it through customs.
    It was nothing special but it helped. The weight of it and the way it felt just reminded me that there is still something out there.

    1. 1- I secretly (now not so secretly) love that you smuggled it. 😀
      2- “The weight of it and the way it felt just reminded me that there is still something out there.” Sometimes we need things to keep us connected to the earth. I am so glad you had something to do that for you.

      Thanks for your service, Allen!