Saturday, March 12, 2011

happiness in the midst of disaster and signs of spring

Regis and I were having a conversation about happiness last night. He read me this quote:

There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind to not be happy, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time. Edith Wharton (1862-19040

I said that I think I have always been a pleasure seeker. I said it as if it was a confession for a sin but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.

Then, this morning, I was talking to my friend Joanne. Another friend of hers is having some significant problems with a young adult child and she herself is very ill. She stopped writing Christmas letters a few years back because she just could not think of what to say about any of it.

My thinking on that is this: Even in the midst of life’s tough times, we have to find joy or what is the point of life? We’re just swirling around the drain in dark and murky water if we can’t find pleasure somewhere.

I called Jane to make sure Devin and Heroe and baby Grace are safe. They live just north of Tokyo and I was terrified for them in light of the awful news of the earthquake and tsunami. They have no lights or power and they are experiencing after-shocks but they are safe for now.

Jane also shared other tragic news, the death by suicide of a beloved aunt and uncle, the sudden death of a nephew, her illness. One of the things I have always loved about our friendship is that she has always been able to find the joy in simple things: a favorite wine glass, a new nightgown, a funny card, a bouquet of wild flowers from a ditch. So, by the end of the conversation, we were laughing about the Sutliff Bridge and the crazy things we’ll do when she and Dick come for a visit.

The Sutliff Bridge is going to be rebuilt. It was washed away in the flood two years ago and even though it’s historic, it was privately owned and the cost for rebuilding a bridge is, well, prohibitive for the average guy. The ownership has been transferred and now there are funds for rebuilding it. Jane’s dream was always that her wake would include bundling her into the back seat of someone’s car and driving over the Sutliff Bridge. That was years ago when we were young so not sure how she feels about it now.

The bunny's face is finally visible. The snow is starting to shrink back from the edges of the sidewalks and driveways. There are muddy puddles on the streets. Signs of spring!

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