Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Being happy is scary.  It's waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But the wait sure feels good.

A couple of Wednesdays ago, while I was at the University of Manitoba waiting for Matthew to finish his gym class, I sat sipping a cup of tea, and reading a book - a beautiful moment in itself, don't you think?!?!  I glanced up for a second and noticed a young woman struggling to juggle a backpack and a sandwich, while hobbling along on a pair of crutches.  Without even thinking, I jumped to my feet and walked over to her.  Almost command-like, I said I would give her a hand. She looked surprised but she compliantly handed over her stuff. When I left her, she thanked me and I responded with a huge grin and a wish for her to have a great day. I practically skipped back to where I'd left my tea and book.  Note: I haven't even felt like skipping since grade school.

Now, the thing to note here is not that I was kind to help her out - really, that was incredibly trivial in the scheme of things.  No, what's important here is that which is more difficult to express - it was the lightness of being, the weightlessness of my heart, that predicated my spontaneous jump up to help. I wanted to make someone else's day just a teensy bit better; I felt like I had that in me to give away. It's the same feeling that has prompted me, on a number of occasions since then, to smile at strangers, and offer to help others.  It seems like a long time since this has come from somewhere deep inside of me.

I looked up the definition of 'happiness' just a few minutes ago.  Here's what I read:
  • happiness is a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy
  • happiness is a state of mind or feeling, characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure or joy.
  • a variety of philosophical, religious, psychological and biological sources have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.
It's true - happiness is hard to define.  Honestly, I'm not even sure that happiness is particularly relevant to life.  Despite what I heard just yesterday on CBC radio about how we all deserve happiness, no one ever promised us happiness and it's not the main goal of life, in my opinion.  I've always been an optimist, true enough - ready and wanting to be hopeful and positive.  But there's a nuance in this experience that's different than optimism.  It's a state of being.  So...here I am:  happy.  Tentative about acknowledging it.  Even more hesitant to say it out loud.  But undeniably happy, nonetheless.  I think the closest description of me these days might be to say that I am content - I feel satisfied about, and am taking pleasure in, life.

My mom used to say that when I was a kid, I lit up a room with my smile.  That's kinda how I felt that Wednesday afternoon when I felt like skipping, and on a number of days since then. Like I was kinda lit up...like I could have lit up a room with my smile.  I don't know why, exactly.  It's not like my problems have gone away; and it's certainly not as if the world's problems have disappeared. And it's not like life is any less complicated than it used to be - in fact, I find that life gets more complicated the older I get...less black and white, lots more gray.

Maybe it's because I've been getting some therapy to help me figure out some longer-standing issues.

Maybe it's because 2009 was such a horrid year that, by comparison, things seem pretty great right now.

Maybe it's because I believe that we might yet, finally, complete our family this year.

Maybe it's because I'm in a decent spot with God right now.

Maybe it's because I'm feeling really good about the trajectory of my marriage.

Maybe it's because I'm taking vitamins and have more energy.

Maybe it's because I'm feeling good about my work/life/homeschool balance at the moment.

Maybe it's because I'm starting to act on a bunch of lifestyle changes that I know are good for me.

Maybe it's a combination of the above.

Maybe I haven't got a hot clue why.

But I like it.

1 comment:

  1. you make me smile. I call that joy..when it comes from inside of you, when it isn't something forced, but just bubbles up. I'm happy FOR you. Keep choosing joy, my blogger friend. darci :)