Our deep ache for the beyond-happy life
I want to ask you a big question. Don’t worry. This isn’t a hard question. It isn’t overly personal either. But it is an important question.
Are you ready?
Here it is: What is the happiest moment you can remember?
You got it? What is it?
I bet it’s amazing.
My answer is simple: my wedding. It was absolutely over-the-top beautiful.
Now, I’m not saying that to score some extra brownie points with my bride, Lynn. Seriously, my wedding was beautiful.
We got married in Yosemite—in an Ansel Adams photograph. You know the kind I’m talking about: black-and-white film stills of the Sierra Nevada backcountry, windswept and rugged, with no one but the mule deer and bighorn sheep for company.
As a guy who grew up in New Jersey, I was blown away by the beauty of Yosemite National Park the first time I went there. I was used to the “awe” of being surrounded by huge buildings and millions of people, but now I was standing in the middle of the most majestic, awe-inspiring place I’d ever seen.
Lynn always wanted to get married in Yosemite. During her childhood, she and her family would often visit this wonderful spot. It was one of her father and mother’s favorite places, and it became even more special to Lynn when her mom passed away after a battle with cancer. When Lynn and I got serious enough to talk about marriage, we decided we wanted to get married at the Yosemite Valley Chapel. The chapel was originally built back in 1879, and it has that kind of old-mountain-chapel quality that hits you in all the right ways when you see it. What could be more beautiful, romantic and memorable than getting married in such a stunning spot and on the first day of spring? Lynn and I couldn’t think of anything we’d like better. So imagine our excitement when we called the park service and a ranger told us the chapel was available for that date!
But then we were told, “Well, given the time of year and our elevation, you’ve got a 50-50 chance of getting snowed out. And, oh yeah, if you can’t get married that day, you still need to pay us for the rental.”
Not exactly what Lynn and I were hoping to hear. It was a total bummer.
But if you know me at all, you can guess what we did. We said, “If God wants it to happen, it’ll happen! Let’s just go ahead and plan it and pray that the park is open.” And you probably have an idea how things went down.
We got snowed out.
No, we didn’t get snowed out! You stinkers.
On the day that we got married, it was the most beautiful day we could hope for! It was 75 degrees, with just a few wispy Bob Ross clouds in the sky. Purple wildflowers punctuated every stretch of green surrounding the chapel. I’m not kidding when I say it was the ultimate wedding.
But there was only one problem: At the start of the ceremony, my bride was nowhere to be found.
Now, Lynn is notoriously on time, but sure enough, we were supposed to get married at 10:00 in the morning, and at 10:05 she wasn’t there. Then 10:10 hit—she wasn’t there. And at 10:15—still not there. In Yosemite, you don’t have cell reception, so I had no clue what was going on. Yeah, I was feeling a little uneasy. At about 10:20, the chapel attendant turned to me and said nervously, “Maybe she’s not going to show up.”
That was about all I could handle. I love Jesus, okay? And I’m a pastor. But I almost hit that attendant! Not because I was mad at him but because, geez, maybe she actually wasn’t going to show up. And that would be the end of the world as I knew it.
What I didn’t know was that the beautiful weather had brought everyone and their cousin out to the park. So my wife, who’s normally right on time, was sitting at the end of a long line of cars, late for her wedding day.
Thankfully, Lynn’s brother, Paul, was her driver, and Paul has absolutely no issues with speaking his mind. I love him for that. So when he realized how late they were, he decided to get out of the car and shout, “I got the bride in here, and she’s late for her wedding day!” And everyone immediately pulled over and let them drive by.
When she finally showed up—about 35 minutes late—my whole body sagged with relief. Whew!
As the chapel doors opened, all I saw was sunlight at first. Then I saw this beautiful silhouette of my bride in her wedding gown. Of course, I’m all Italian, so I got choked up.
The beauty of that moment was amplified by the fact that I hadn’t been sure we’d even get in the park or that she was going to show up. All that I had been expectantly looking for walked through that door, and it was the happiest moment of my life.
You know you have found what you are looking for when you are happy. And not just happy in the general sense, but something beyond happiness.
Our deep ache for this beyond-happy life is something we can hardly put into words most of the time. We don’t want beauty in an abstract sense, floating out there in the ether. We want to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to bathe in it and become part of it. As we behold Jesus and the beauty of what God has done for us, we find ourselves yearning for true oneness with Jesus.
I have a sneaking suspicion that you want your life to be truly beautiful. You want to live crazy happy. So do I. That is also why I needed to write this book in the first place. I wanted to find the road map to a crazy happy life.
So let’s take this journey together. Come explore these passages of Scripture and the amazing realities tucked inside.
I promise to be as honest as possible. I’m traveling this path too.
Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
Let’s find out together.
This is an excerpt from Crazy Happy: Nine Surprising Ways to Live the Truly Beautiful Life by Daniel Fusco (WaterBrook, 2021). Used with permission.