Some people are naturally happy. They bound out of bed, a tune on their lips, ready to embrace the day. And then there’s me. I pry myself out of bed with the greatest reluctance, as sleeping is perhaps the one thing I do exceedingly well. (And if the cats didn’t need feeding and tending to, I’d probably skip this step altogether some days.) The truth is, happiness doesn’t come easily to everybody. And that’s okay.

See, I’ve learned that happiness is like a garden (or a marriage, or any number of other metaphors). Even if you have great soil, the best seeds and plenty of sun, you still have to tend to it. Happiness requires work. Like all things worth having, it ought to.

I’ve started a new practice. Last week, during my hour of Perpetual Adoration (which, simply put, consists of sitting with God in silence for an hour), I picked up a book, the biography of some saint or other. (I wish I could remember her name, but I can’t.) Anyway, the back of the book stated something that blew my mind. This saint realized that there was only thing that she needed to do in her life, and that was to love God. Just that. It sounded so simple to me that the logical, Spock-like section of my brain immediately questioned it: But what about actions? Don’t I also need to praise God and thank God and, and, and?

Finally, it sunk in. If I do love God, primarily and consciously, the rest will follow…whatever it is. So to still my anxious mind (SueBe calls it “monkeybrain”), I have taken to the following: whenever I start worrying or becoming discouraged or digging in my heels, I stop and say (silently; I don’t need the authorities carting me away just yet), “I love you, God.”

It’s funny what happens when you say, “I love you.” Your heart slows down. You smile. There’s no way to be grumpy when love is on your mind. It’s a lovely reminder of all that is good.

Sure, it’s not much of a practice yet. I know I can do so much more. But it starts with this, just saying, “I love you.” Everything that ought to flow from that will come. I’ve got good reason to believe it will.