Sometimes, the sidewalk is a joyful carpet of pink spring flowers.

Sometimes, it’s a narrow unkempt path with ragged edges.

Sometimes, it’s a cracked up mess of mud and gravel.

And sometimes, the sidewalk just stops–hits a disappointing dead end.

And in those places where there’s no path to walk, a new one might be created.

I took these pictures and wrote the words above almost a year ago. It was going to be my next blog post back in February 2019, but I never pressed the “publish” button.

Quite frankly, I had lost the energy to write these little reflections. What had begun as a Lenten discipline in 2018 had continued for almost a year. Some people had commented that the posts were helpful, but few people ever read them, and I wondered about the relevancy of these simple messages when the world was full of real problems. I felt like my words were so small and ineffectual compared to the weighty issues of the day.

But then in my email inbox came a reminder that it’s time again to pay WordPress for this platform, and the message was from someone whose job title is “happiness engineer.” I’m not exactly sure what that’s supposed to mean for the people at WordPress, but it made me think about my purpose.

I’ve grown to understand that my purpose is to live and share the love of Christ. To me, experiencing and living that love is happiness. If an engineer is someone who designs, improves, and builds things, maybe I need to think of myself as a happiness engineer–designing, improving, and building the ways we experience and express love in the world.

In the midst of this sometimes confusing and often difficult world with its seemingly overwhelming problems, if I can offer even a little happiness, if I give even one small delightful thought, if these little reflections create a little more compassion in someone’s heart or lead to a little more goodness in someone’s life, then taking a little time to offer these words may be well worth the effort.

I had written the reflection on sidewalks with something else on my mind, but after 11 months, I think it’s about building a new path in any situation. For me, right now, it’s about starting over with engineering happiness through some more small, encouraging, lighthearted blog posts that design, improve, and build a little more delight, a little deeper reflection, a little broader kindness, and a lot more love.  Maybe this is a way to pave a new path for someone to continue the journey.

14 Replies to “Sidewalks”

  1. I love your writings! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. You are definitely a “happiness engineer!”


  2. Yes, please continue your writings. I forwarded them more than once to friends and received thanks. You never know when a “few words” can make a huge difference (and spark happiness). Thank you.


  3. I had not realized that there was a “Following” box to click on. That way I’ll be sure to get your Blog instead of depending on Facebook. Thank you John for sharing!


  4. Jim and I have missed your thought provoking muses, John, and wondered what had happened. You are very talented and seemingly share your kind heart and love with ease. I have to think that our Lord and Savior is pleased to have you use your abundant talents and especially at this time when our nation, our churches and even our families and friends are so divided and unkind to one another.


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