Monday, July 20, 2009

Being a Happy Person


I've been reading A Circle of Light by Madeleine L'Engle. Here is a part that touched my soul: "Once, when I was very unhappy, Hugh [her husband] and I had to go to a large cocktail party. There was nothing I wanted to do less than get dressed up and have to radiate charm to swarms of people. But we went, and I tried. There was a woman at the party who very quickly had too much to drink because she was lost; she had been widowed; she had not been able to find a new life which was valuable, or in which she felt she had any value. She talked to me and cried into her drink and suddenly she said, "You're a very happy person, aren't you?
"I had, at that point, legitimate reason to be miserable. But her question stopped me in my tracks. I looked at her in surprise and gratitude and said, 'Yes, I am.'
"This was ten years ago. But the answer is still the same. The better word, of course, is joy, because it doesn't have anything to do with pain, physical or spiritual. . . . Joy is what has made the pain bearable and, in the end, creative rather than destructive.
"To be fifty-one in the world of today and to be able to say, 'I am a happy person,' may seem irresponsible. But it is not. It is what keeps me capable of making a response. I do not understand it, or need to.
"Meanwhile, I am grateful.'

Her words have rolled around in my mind and I've tasted them in my heart and believe that I can say that I, too, am a happy person. Joy is what makes "pain bearable." And joy is frequently a verb--looking at things in a certain way--doing things from a distinct perspective--making a choice to be happy. I can "joy" in life.
I don't believe that means going around with a sappy grin in the midst of trouble. To me it means acknowledging the misery and darkness that abound, but refusing to feast on them and not letting them become who I am. There is glory and beauty in abundance, and I choose to let them be the feast that I internalize.
Naivete has its benefits, and I prefer filling up on trust and faith and hope. Like Ms. L'Engle, 'I do not understand it, or need to.' And I, too, "am grateful."

Glory Comes

Glory came, this morning,
in a little spurt
from Aurora's rose-tipped fingers--
so beautiful it hurt.

Glory comes in moments
that quickly melt away,
yet leave a hallowed memory
to echo through the day.

Glory comes in moments
so keen they take the breath--
as keen, almost, as resurrection
after solemn death.

3 comments:

Jenae said...

Oh Mom, thank you for bringing joy into my life! I love the idea of joy being a verb. It makes sense. Life is what we make it, and I'm so happy to share mine with you! See you in a week.

CHERRANNE said...

Teacher!!!!! This entry has really echoed for Me things that were told to Me at a VERY difficult time. Thanks for these words. You have been the most kind and fostering Friend, and certainly have added to MY joy. Thanks SO much! :-) ♥

The Webers said...

Thank you!