So you didn’t win a billion dollars. Well here’s a news flash: Money is no guarantee of happiness. I know because I’ve won the lottery and it’s so much more than money.
Every time my wife kisses me, when she whispers in my ear and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, when she casually strokes the back of my hand or surprises me with an afternoon text message of love, I know I’ve won.
When I see a good friend on the street and they smile and hug me for no other reason than they’re happy to see me, when I dangle my feet in a mountain stream and that clear, chilly water effortlessly races across my feet, when I watch the sunshine sparkle on a South Carolina lake, it’s as if I’ve won the lottery.
When my one of my kids brings home an A in math or performs a random act of kindness, when I take the time to appreciate the lines of an architect’s steel and glass creation, put there just to please the human eye, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
When I spot Orion, Betelgeuse, Saturn, or Venus in the sparkle of a crisp winter sky and can share this with one of my neighbors, or when I catch the perfect apex of a downhill, off-camber corner on my Trek then power up the succeeding hill, I really feel like a winner.
When I feel the crunch of January’s frost on November’s fallen leaves, I know I’ve won.
When someone much older than me offers me a bit of advice or a story from their youth, or when someone much younger asks me for advice or a moment of my time, I feel like a winner.
When I hear the words of a favorite author or philosopher speak to me across thousands of years, when I help someone change a tire or show my son how to change a spark plug, when I throw a football with my son or help my daughter with a history essay, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
When my dog jumps into my lap and offers up that goofy mile wide smile of his or when I find a dozen fresh eggs in our barn, yeah I’m a lottery winner.
When I have gracious service at a humble counter-service café, when I take that first bite of a Pimento Cheese Burger, when I’m handed a chilled glass of a local craft beer, or when I bite into a warm Chocolate Croissant that my wife made with a mere handful of ingredients, I’ve definitely won the lottery.
When I hear a glorious rendition of “Amazing Grace,” the solemn call of a White Throated Sparrow, the rumble of a late-’60s carbureted Ford V8, or the sassy call of a Mockingbird, I’m certain I’ve won the lottery.
When I look at photos of an amazing trip we’ve taken, one resplendent with palm trees, chilled local beer, handmade tortillas, and soft Caribbean waters, I realize I’ve won the lottery.
When I bite into a warm, handmade biscuit resplendent with fresh butter, cane syrup, or local honey or a perfectly roasted Brussels sprout and flavors of bacon fat, garlic, and maple vinegar pop on my tongue, it feels as if I’ve won the lottery. When my bride makes an egg and cheese sandwich on a few slices of sourdough that came right out of our oven, I know I’ve won the lottery.
See? You’ve already won. You just didn’t realize it. Find your winning numbers by appreciating the beauty found in your every day. It’s already there, it’s all around you. Find your fortune then go and spend it by sharing it with others.