Kim Griffin

Where is your “happy place?”

Presumably we all want to be in our happy place, and there’s a new store in the King of Prussia Mall to exploit this very human tendency.

“Happy Place” arrived at Oct. 5, and is reportedly the “most Instagrammable pop-up in America.” That’s right. It’s a place to take fabulous selfies to post on social media.

Tickets cost $20-$30 per person and buy a one-hour walk through 13 different multi-sensory rooms filled with oversized installations including an indoor confetti dome, a rainbow you can jump off into a pot of happiness, 40,000 handmade gold flowers, seven-foot stilettos made of a million candies and a rubber ducky bathtub you can splash in, just to name a few.

Founder Jared Paul, an American artist manager and live entertainment producer, explained in a press release, “I want to live and raise my children in a world surrounded by what makes us happy. With the number of unfortunate events happening recently, I believe our world can use more happiness. To make this dream come true, we set out on a journey to create a special place filled with smiles and laughter for all.”

Celebrities have jumped on the happy place bandwagon, including the likes of Hilary Duff, Diplo, Marshmello, Kourtney Kardashian, Travis Barker and Rashida Jones.

And news media have reported the pop-up exhibit has been successful in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Boston and Las Vegas.

But success defined by the world doesn’t equal happiness. Countless celebrities committing suicide provide us with this grim reminder. We are created to live a life in the spirit. Our goal is to get to the kingdom of heaven, where perfect happiness resides.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Imagine — a room prepared by Jesus himself! Think of the care that expectant parents put into preparing the nursery room for their infant. They child-proof the space so the baby will be safe and protected. They pick out a crib so the baby will be comfortable. They perhaps buy a nightlight and sound machine to soothe the baby. No detail is overlooked because they want the baby to be happy at home.

If flawed parents can create such a space for the child they love, imagine the holy perfection that awaits us in the room being prepared for us by Christ.

Are we ready to go to our “happy place” on earth?

Living a life in the Spirit is how we can prepare. Rejecting celebrity worship and consumerism frees us to model our lives after the saints and pursue a life in the Spirit.

We were given the directives of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) to guide us lest we get distracted:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

St. Faustina had visions of heaven which she described: “Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its unconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend or fathom. This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures.”

Sounds like a room filled with “laughter and smiles” for all. A truly happy place.

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Kim Griffin is a member of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Philadelphia.