This question gets tossed around a lot in various forms. Are you happily married? Are you happy in your job? Are you happy with your new car? Your dog? Your house? Were you happy with your hotel stay? Your meal at the restaurant?

We throw the question around lightly, and perhaps that’s as it should be. Happiness seems to be a fleeting emotion, as beautiful and temporary as a snowflake. On those increasingly rare occasion when my whole family gathers around the table and we laugh and tease and tell tall tales, my heart smiles. I’d say I’m happy at those moments. Extremely so. These slices of time are precious and I tuck them away in my heart because I know they pass too quickly.

But when someone cuts me off, or I get the cashier trainee–again–or I have to wait for the train en-route to work, I wouldn’t say I was “happy.” Now overall, would I say my life is more “happy” than not? Absolutely. But am I happy at every moment? Um, no.

Perhaps we need to dig a little deeper for the true meaning of happiness.

I found a quote by Helen Keller that I posted by my computer. She is somebody I would have loved to meet. Both blind and deaf, this tough lady overcame incredible odds and accomplished great things. Her courage, grit and determination inspire me. Here’s what she had to say about happiness:

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Now that’s a mindset you can sink your life into. That’s where bone-deep contentment arises, the stuff that’s unaffected by the winds of circumstance. Happiness comes from loyalty and devotion to a worthy purpose.

So, are you happy? To what worthwhile purpose are you devoting your life?