Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1, 2015

Do you recall the days when jokes were not only allowed, but encouraged? In this politically correct age, those sour pusses who seem to be in charge of all things societal ensure that laughter is a rare occurrence, indeed. And yet laughter is one underrated commodity that is so very important to human well-being. And here’s the other.

There’s the one about the two vehicles that get into a fender bender. Both drivers get out of their cars. One is a young man of average height, the second, a somewhat older man who, though fairly muscular, is height-wise, quite diminutive.

The shorter of the two drivers looks at the other one and says, “I am not happy!” Where upon the other driver cocks his head to the side and says, “No? Well, then, which one are you?”

You’ve often read right here in these essays that my firm belief is that the purpose of life is not to show us a good time. And I really do believe that. But I also believe that laughter, and happiness, are as important to us, and our journey, as is the growth we achieve through tough times.

But how do we balance things out? And how do we know if we’re happy?

Happiness is a concept that is misunderstood, in my opinion, very underrated. Some say the opposite, but to them I would point out that in one of the most important documents put forth by mankind, ever—The United States Declaration of Independence—the pursuit of happiness is one of the three “inalienable” rights given us by our Creator.

We have organizations that make as their cause célébré the right to life. We also have organizations dedicated to liberty—civil, and otherwise.

Do we have an organization, anywhere, dedicated to the pursuit of happiness?

Ah, but Morgan, you may say, how does one define happiness? It’s such a subjective concept! I agree, which was why the framers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t say, “life, liberty and happiness”, but rather “the pursuit of happiness”.

So what, then, if it is a subjective concept? That just means that in life, as in the clothing boutique, one size does not fit all.

Are you happy?

I Googled the word happiness, and the on-line dictionary offered these two definitions: 1). The state of being happy, and 2). Good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

So, let’s think about this for a minute. And since I cannot speak to your state of being, I’ll speak to my own—and I’ll answer my own question. Am I happy?

Let’s see. I’m 60, and I am in reasonable shape for the shape I’m in. I’ve had one heart attack, thirteen years ago, and a triple-bypass of the same vintage. I have diabetes, and I have arthritis so severe in both ankles and knees that I walk with a cane, and am in considerable pain, every single day. As I await my gall bladder surgery, I’m reluctant to wander too far away from my home. In my home, I don’t have near enough energy, or stamina, to do all the things each day I want to do. I’ve lost my parents, a sister, a granddaughter and a son.

And yet, I am so aware of the many ways in which I have been blessed. I have a home, food on the table, a husband to whom I’ve been married more than 42 years. I have a son and a daughter-in-law, and a daughter, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I get to live my passion, which is writing, and I know that people—many people, read my words. Every day is a new adventure, and I awaken each morning filled with gratitude for another chance to do something to help make someone else happy. I find pleasure and contentment in my daily routine, and in the various communications I have with people, some of whom I’ve never even met face to face. And when I hear that someone was down, but then turned to one of my books and felt better for the experience, my heart fills with joy, and yes, again, gratitude.

By the above definition, then, I’m happy. And do you know what? I really am.

What about you?