In a recent email a friend wrote: “We take our happiness where we can find it.”
She lives in British Columbia and was talking about the emerging spring, but it’s a remark that spans a life-time. We should embrace those moments of happiness, even if we have to dig to find them.
Happiness is easy to find sometimes — new growth, a blooming flower, a baby’s smile, a puppy or kitten. There are a million things one can readily lay eyes or hands on to warrant a feeling of happiness.
But what happens when it’s harder to find? How willing are we to search?
Obviously, Japan comes to mind. On the face of things, one might be tempted to think “Those poor people have nothing to be happy about.” But even in the wake of devastation, good stories are emerging from the catastrophic meeting of earth and water. An old man found alive, floating nine miles out to sea on the roof of his house. An old woman found alive amid the rubble of her home. A baby discovered alive amid the wreckage. A young man discovering that his entire family has survived.
It’s all too easy to focus on the bad — and the media would have us do so, to stir the pot of fear, to keep it alive in our brains, to make us afraid. But what enables us as a people, as a unified force throughout the world, as members of the Human Race, is the ability to find those moments of glory and press on. To embrace beauty and joy where we find it, to give us the impetus to fight the dark times.
We’ve all heard the stories: the men and women incarcerated in concentration camps who survived because they found a purpose to each day, even if that purpose was “only” survival. The people who stepped outside themselves at the very rock bottom of their lives and gave something to another. Those who choose to look up, instead of down; forward, instead of back.
What’s the old saying? “If you face the sun, the shadow falls behind you.”