The lupines are blooming, we are bustling around here getting ready to launch the boat, cooking big dinners and enjoying life. Feeling what I will cautiously call … happy.
I say cautiously in response to an interesting article I read recently that I can’t let go of, regarding our society’s push for happiness and why this is not necessarily healthy from a wholesome stand point. Stay with me here…
It seems to me a dangerous concept to only strive for happiness.
I know, what? This strikes in the face of what we are constantly told but I believe this because every emotion we have shapes who we are and what we will become. Our pain increases our awareness of our joys; our loss give us appreciation for what we still hold; and heartache in many instances actually increases our capacity to love. I want to be happy yes, but I want to be whole first and foremost. Some of my biggest periods of growth and changes have been results of not happiness but of heartbreak, betrayal, longing, embarrassment, and uncertainty.
I was acutely reminded of this while at work this week, an older gentleman came in seeking my help with a Coast Guard Documentation certificate for his commercial fishing vessel. He had submitted his application, only to have it returned to him asking for a Bill of Sale releasing interest from the second owner. This second owner turned out to be his wife who had been passed away 5 years now.
He brought her Death Certificate to me and carefully filled out every line of the form, waited while I submitted it for him and returned his paperwork. Before leaving he said to me something that just struck a chord. He told me, I am 76 years old. My wife was my partner, we did everything together, it’s strange but at times I forget she is even gone, wanting to go home and tell her about my day. Then something like this happens and it never gets easier, five years and it hasn’t gotten easier.
So take what you hold dear and keep it close, all our sadness, all our joys, they shape our souls, they teach us compassion.
Forget merely striving for happiness and live deeply in every moment, for it could change everything.