I watched through the window as I sat eating lunch with the boy. An older couple, maybe in their early 50’s, stood embracing each other like two vines entwined, both shiny and smiling, both happy and full of emotion. I swear an invisible hand reached through that window and brushed the beat in my chest. For a moment, they stopped long enough to look at each other lovingly and kiss, then they embraced again. How lucky am I to observe such tenderness, such mutual adoration, and how much of a sap am I that my eyes softened into blurry bits before I tore them away (feeling like the guilty voyeur that I was). I clasped that happy moment between both hands like capturing a firefly, even if it belonged to someone else. The light remains with me still.
Mesmerizing, happiness is that fleeting flicker of light that travels across the bridge between our eyes. A tireless hunt we engage in as we look towards our weekends, our trips, the things we own or don’t own, our accomplishments, our time alone, our time with friends. The fade eventually emerges though, waiting in the silken shadows beneath every coin.
I don’t tell my children anymore that all I want is for them is to just be happy, because I am not sure yet if they know how true happiness is found. It’s not by getting what we want, this I know. As lovely and delightful it is to get what we want, this kind of joy is never the kind that lasts. Evident in the epilogue of when we get “stuff” or have finished a vacation or a long weekend, in the gray silence and dark blue void of sadness, like we’ve been cut off abruptly from our drug. This kind of joy is only the filling of an insatiable mug, a thirst that’s never quenched.
True joy and happiness has empty pockets, is without gift tags, labels, trophies or titles. We find it by scaling the deep ravines that are sure to collapse beneath our feet. We find it by knowing when to sway gently with the wind and the water that will slap us across the face, and when to resist the current that rages to knock us down. Somehow, the longer we endure, the more we learn to live. The more fears we face, the more truths we comprehend, the more obstacles we choose to leap, the easier happiness tends to make itself known. When this happens, the light we search comes alive in every direction, fireflies everywhere! Couples across the room in an embrace, a man in the poetry aisle wanting to share his favorite poet, an old green chevy hidden behind a tree, a log trapped in the gorgeous spider web of ice, children with sloppy ice cream dripping off their noses…
Fireflies, everywhere…do you see them?
much love to you on this wintery day