Becoming whole through family life. Desserts help.
My first childhood memory stands as one of the happiest of my life. I was eight and had waited months for this moment. While I sat perfectly still my mother placed in my arms a brand new baby sister. Time stopped. I plunged into that movie scene where everything freezes except the two people in love. I was deeply happy.
Every day I make a case for embracing happiness. For me, to argue against happiness would be like making a case against reading….
Then I try to understand those who reject happiness. They may not be inclined by their temperament, haven’t experienced much happiness, or may not see it as a priority. They may be engulfed in suffering or overwhelmed by the darkness of our world. Their world or religious view may not emphasize faith, hope and love which produce joy.
Or they may be reacting to the manipulative cheerfulness of a customer service representative or the slick maneuvering of a politician. I’m cautious of the always perky smile, the uniformity of a group’s shiny exterior, or attempts to sell happiness in a bottle. But deceitful behaviors disguised as happiness aren’t happiness at all.
Happiness, displayed as a positive attitude along with acts of kindness, is for some an inclination of temperament. Happy-go-lucky sanguines have a gift of “the ability to be happy” to share and teach. For others it is a priority or a learned habit. I’m serious by nature, but living a life of angst and intellectual meandering didn’t fulfill me. So while I walked that path when I was a young adult and found it wanting, I am empathetic with the earnest.
Paradoxically, suffering eventually lead me to personal happiness and made me outwardly kinder. I am grateful that happiness helps soften the blows of pain and injustice. In the face of literal and figurative storms, I’m happy to be alive. In the face of death, I’m happy for tenderness shown and the promise of eternal life.
Rejecting happiness for oneself is one thing. Trying to diminish or steal the happiness of others is wrong. I will claim the happiness life affords me and embrace it the way I embraced my baby sister years ago. With gratitude and awe.
Gray Stripe Earned: Embrace happiness.