After my last bit of writing I received a phone call from my oldest, as I expected. She is the one person in the world who, to the best of my knowledge, actually reads everything I post. That is a bit frightening because I know she is a much better writer than me, and much smarter to boot. The only thing I have on her is life experience, maybe.
She calls because she thought I sounded ‘down’ . She was right, I was. She watched her mother and I go through a particularly horrible time in our lives and was our main support system. She is very concerned about our happiness and well-being which I appreciate more than I can say.
To her I would say that my life experience teaches me this: happiness is a mostly misunderstood idea and the way people understand it means they will never have it.
The best definition I have ever heard for ‘happiness’ is that it is a feeling that, in general, things ‘are as they should be’. I look at the world around me and I do not think that things are ‘as they should be’ and I do not ever expect to feel that way about the world I live in.
I look inside though. My relationship with my Maker is ‘as it should be’. My relationship with those I care about the most is “as it should be’. I am doing the best I can in my own small way to ‘repair the world’ with the talents given me, and that is as it should be.
On my path I will have some days that are smooth, some that are rocky, and some that are in-between. That has nothing to do with ‘happiness’ although it would just mean that I am no different from anyone else and that too is ‘as it should be’.
I look inside to see what the state of my soul is. I reflect about the difference between the man I am, and the man I could be. I check to see if I am using my gifts, such as they are, to benefit others. I am sure to have ‘bumpy’ days the rest of my life, but I am the ‘happiest’ I have ever been in my life, and I think I will be for a very long time.
So to my daughter I would say ‘thank you’ for your caring. That means you too are using your gifts and living as you should.