The world seems dismal these times. Recently my brother and I were talking about how in the “olden days,” we didn’t know about the disasters and tragedies happening on the other side of the world, much less in neighboring towns or states. We didn’t have the internet. We weren’t bombarded with news twenty four hours every day. We had three main TV networks, and we listened to “the news” maybe each evening. If something terrible happened in our town we were astounded but we were blissfully unaware of problems in other places. We were happier, I believe, because in that sense, our ignorance was bliss. We didn’t worry about everything.
Prior to Christmas, my husband and I were invited to attend the dress rehearsal of a local church’s Christmas Eve cantata. We went on a cold Wed. night, sat in a dimly lit church, and were blown away by the beauty of the music and choir. It was a moment of happiness. On a less inspirational situation, happiness found me one morning when I was overwhelmed and a person knocked on the door. She had come to pick up some newspapers. We had a little visit. I was glad to get to know her better and to share some local news. After she told about a couple of family situations, we moved to other topics and began to laugh about some trivial matters. As I said goodbye and closed the door, I realized I was happy.
Another moment of happiness surprised me when I was with a bunch of writers who shared thoughts, food, and general talk. Being with those people was invigorating, and I realized I was happy. I think happiness has to do with feeling thankful. These little slivers of happy moments remind me of a couple of lines in the prologue of Tennyson’s poem, “In Memoriam.” He wrote about the death of his friend, and he concluded that our lives, however short, are but “broken lights of Thee.” It’s interesting to think about that.
It is now a new year and we have no idea what sort of tragedies will occur in our lives or in the world. Some people are talking about how we are “in the end of times.” Whether true or not, who can say? Meanwhile, I wish for everyone with an ounce of capacity to think, to work to make your own luck. Allow yourself to realize that you can be happy. Be thankful. Be wise. Alas, for children who are told, see, and hear everything! If there is anything we can teach them, we must teach them self-control and not to spend time searching for happiness. Am I too philosophical? Perhaps, but it doesn’t matter. Happy New Year.