“Don’t just skim through this book quickly. Savor it and discuss it with a friend. Your personal happiness is at stake.”—Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, from the foreword
Dissatisfied with your life? Yeah, most of us have been there. There’s no shame in wanting to be happy, but real satisfaction often eludes us. At best, what fleeting happiness we find tends to dribble away in never-ending debts, stressful deadlines, and mindless scrolling. At worst, it’s chased away by anxiety, depression, or fallout from our selfishness.
Here’s the truth: whether we hunt for happiness in parties, bars, the workplace hustle, or even in church pews, we’ll wind up shortchanged. Why? Because we don’t see our lives as beautiful.
But God wants something better for you—happiness so real this world might think it’s too good to be true.
In Crazy Happy, Daniel Fusco unpacks fresh connections in two of the Bible’s most familiar passages—secrets of happiness that can really, truly, honest-to-goodness change things. If you stick around for the ride, you’ll find the kind of God-given beauty that can change your life for good—even in our sometimes-crazy world.
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|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Let’s Get Crazy Happy
I want to ask you a big question. But first I want to give you a moment to get ready. Don’t worry. This isn’t a hard question. It isn’t overly personal either. But it is an important question. And you don’t want to overthink the answer.
Are you ready?
Take a moment. Breathe in. Breathe out.
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. To this day, it was one of my happiest moments.
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 on a road trip with a few buddies I grew up with, and we were checking out the national parks in California, southern Utah, and Arizona. But Yosemite was absolutely insane. As I looked around, I couldn’t speak. 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 been. I found myself just spinning in a circle, my eyes glued to the crags and bluffs towering above me. If you’ve never been there, I hope you can visit it sometime. Words can’t really describe it.
Picture this: almost 95 percent of the park—around 750,000 acres of land—is wild and mountainous, some of the most untouched wilderness we’ve got left in the United States. I wasn’t kidding about the photo. Ansel Adams was captivated by Yosemite, which is why I’m sure you’ve probably seen the park in photos at some point, even if you’ve never been there.
But the park is only the beginning of this story. 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. Lynn had always dreamed of having her wedding in Yosemite.
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. It’s located in the crook of the valley, and when you look around, you realize you are literally ringed on all sides by cliffs bigger than anything you’ve ever seen, pockets of meadows, and (as if that weren’t breathtaking enough) an incredible view of Yosemite Falls.
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! We couldn’t believe our luck.
But then we were told, “Well, given the time of year and our elevation, you’ve got a fifty-fifty chance of getting snowed out, and you might not be able to make it into the park to get married. And oh yeah, if that happens, you still need to pay us for the rental even though you won’t be able to get married that day.”
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.
For the weeks leading up to our wedding, the weather was perfect. On the day that we got married, it was the most beautiful day we could hope for! It was seventy-five degrees, with just a few wispy Bob Ross clouds in the sky. Purple wildflowers punctuated every stretch of green surrounding the chapel. And there was a single lingering pile of snow right in front, so all our little cousins and nephews could throw snowballs at each other. 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.
You’re probably wondering, You went through all that, only to show up and she wasn’t there? 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.
Inside the chapel where I was waiting for Lynn, I didn’t have the full picture. What I didn’t realize was that because of the beautiful weather and because it was a Saturday, there was a long line of cars trying to get into the park. So my wife, who’s normally right on time, was sitting at the end of that line, late for her wedding day.
Thankfully, Lynn’s brother, Paul, was her driver, and Paul has absolutely no issues with speaking his mind and creating a scene. 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 thirty-five 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. It took everything I had to pull it together fast. I didn’t want to have bad wedding pictures because I was ugly crying before she even walked through the doors of that cute little chapel.
When I think of the happiest moment in my life, I think of that day. Was everything perfect? No. But the crazy journey it took to reach the point where Lynn and I got married made that moment all the sweeter. The beauty of that moment as I caught my first glimpse of my bride was amplified by the fact I hadn’t been sure we’d even get in the park or that she was going to show up.
Learning to See
Part of what makes things beautiful to us are the surrounding circumstances. I think of a famous story in the Bible—the one in which the men who followed Jesus, his disciples, were traveling on the road to Emmaus. They were leaving Jerusalem, totally dejected. Bummed out doesn’t even begin to describe how they felt. They thought that Jesus was the promised Messiah and Savior, so they had put all their eggs in that basket, and then he up and died. The disciples who chose to stay in Jerusalem were hiding out, fearing they were going to be next.
When I put myself in their shoes, I’m guessing they thought, All our hope was in this guy, Jesus, and what he was going to do, and now he’s gone. Like me in the wedding chapel, they just didn’t know the rest of the story. On that Saturday following Jesus’s crucifixion, the disciples didn’t realize the cross was going to give way to an empty tomb. Although Friday was brutal, there was a resurrection coming on Sunday.
I bet you know how that feels. I know I sure do. Our lives are full of those “Saturday moments,” aren’t they? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt so lost in the middle of my circumstances that I haven’t been able to see any beauty.
We’re hitting on something fundamental to our human experience.
What I’ve discovered is this: plain and simple, the only reason you and I are so dissatisfied with our lives is that we don’t see them as beautiful. You think I’m making this up, but I’m not. Not seeing our lives as beautiful holds us back from the happiness and satisfaction we’re meant to experience.
Plain and simple, the only reason you and I are so dissatisfied with our lives is because we don’t see them as beautiful.
I learned this in the great philosophy classroom of the college party. (Bear with me. It’s worth it.) Party after party did nothing to satisfy my thirst for happiness and meaning in life. I was the guy who handled vibe control for parties all over the city. I made sure they were the best anyone ever went to. But I remember sitting on my dorm bed one night, saying, “This is supposed to be fun, but it’s not fun anymore.”
Table of Contents
Foreword Rick Warren xiii
1 Let's Get Crazy Happy 3
2 The Crazy Happy Way of Love 24
3 The Crazy Happy Way of Joy 43
4 The Crazy Happy Way of Peace 62
5 The Crazy Happy Way of Patience 77
6 The Crazy Happy Way of Kindness 94
7 The Crazy Happy Way of Goodness 111
8 The Crazy Happy Way of Faithfulness 129
9 The Crazy Happy Way of Gentleness 148
10 The Crazy Happy Way of Self-Control 167
11 This Crazy Happy Life 184
Points to Ponder 193