Friday, July 4, 2008

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
-Declaration of Independence
, 1776

In deciding what to post this morning, I decided to re-read the Declaration of Independence. It has been years, probably high school, since I read the whole the thing through. I am in awe of extraordinary bravery of those ordinary men.

But that's not what this post is about. The passage above is probably one of the most familiar passages of the entire document, words that most Americans recognize. In reading it through this morning, I was struck by the words 'pursuit of Happiness'.

The dictionary defines pursuit as:

1. the act of pursuing
2. an effort to secure or attain; quest
3. any occupation, pastime, or the like, in which a person is engaged regularly
or customarily

—Synonyms 1. chase, hunt. 2. search. 3. activity, preoccupation, inclination.

Pursuit requires action, effort, a search or quest. Happiness is not a right or a guarantee. I do have the right to wake up in the morning and decide to be happy. Happiness is a decision.

Most days I win this battle but the last few weeks have been stressful and I had forgotten that the pursuit of happiness is my right. Starting today, I will again make the conscious decision to be happy (at least most days!).

If you want to read the full Declaration of Independence or other information about it, visit

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