A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker


Iíve been thinking about you.

No, really. I have. Every week about this time I think about you a LOT. And this being the holiday season and all, Iíve even been thinking about what I could get you for Christmas. But Iíve got to be honest with you. Weíve only been Christmas shopping a couple of times this season, and already my debit card has been worn smooth and my leather checkbook is lathered up and gasping for air. And itís been so long since I had anything green in my wallet that it gets the shakes every time we walk past a salad bar.

Still, Iíve been thinking. If itís really true that "itís the thought that counts," maybe youíll be just as pleased to find out what Iíve been thinking about getting for you. That way I can stay within the charred remains of my holiday budget, and youíll only have to think about writing a "thank you" note in return.

The first thing I wanted to get for you was some "Peace of Mind." But do you have any idea how hard that is to find these days? I looked in all the usual places Ė you know, Position, Power, Wealth, Status, Fame and Stuff Like That Ė but I couldnít find it anywhere. It occurred to me that maybe itís something that youíre going to have to find on your own. Iíd suggest a good hard look at Personal Integrity, for starters. If you canít find it there, try Honesty, Loyalty and Self-Control. And if you havenít yet made room for God in your life, this might be a good time to discover the "Peace of Mind" that He offers.

The next thing I was thinking about getting for you is "Success," but I wasnít sure what size to get. Do you need an extra large, complete with mansions, limousines and a jet set lifestyle? Or would you prefer something more modest Ė perhaps a medium Ė with its three-bedroom ramblers, minivans and occasional vacations?

Of course, that assumes youíre going to choose the traditional Success package, with its attendant angst, frustration and rate-race mentality. You may wish to go in a different direction to find the kind of Success that best suits you. Iíd recommend the "no other success can compensate for failure in the home" line. Itís quite expensive in terms of work, consistency and love, but the results can be incredibly satisfying.

And finally I was thinking about getting you a big bag of "Happiness" Ė not the fleeting kind of pleasure that makes us happy-for-now, but the real thing: whole-souled, enduring, tragedy-defying and joyful. But everyone says you canít buy that, so I guess youíre going to be on your own for this one, too. I canít tell you for sure where youíre going to find it. But I can tell you that a few places where you wonít find it Ė like a bar, for example. Or a casino. And you wonít find it in a syringe, a new car, a larger paycheck, a significant honor, an elaborate meal, a pack of cigarettes or even Ė believe it or not Ė a box of chocolates.

In fact, it has been my experience that real happiness isnít something you find; it finds you, and is more a consequence of choices than a choice itself. But I know it has something to do with those other two gifts Ė "Peace of Mind" and "Success" Ė and a lot to do with "Love."

Which, come to think of it, is something else Iíve been thinking about picking up for you. As with all of my other gifts for you this Christmas, however, thatís something youíd best find on your own. But I do wish you "Success" in finding it.

Not to mention "Happiness" and "Peace of Mind," as well.

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--- © Joseph Walker


Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through