Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Allowing Happiness

with 7 comments

We did it! We have arrived at the last day of 2020, bowing respectively for the sad number of others for whom the year would become their last.

There you have it, right there in the opening lines, my perpetual dilemma. It is time to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, but how can we celebrate in the depths of this disastrous pandemic? How did the people of downtown Nashville celebrate Christmas when the morning dawned with a terrorizing suicide bombing?

It’s not easy. But I’ve come to value the challenge of allowing for happiness amid a world of sorrow. Doing so is more worthy than the alternative of not cultivating joy simply because of all the things that continue to be wrong in the world.

I weep for those who are in pain, poverty-stricken, devoid of love, homeless, country-less, hungry, lost, forsaken, oppressed, unjustly imprisoned, or ill of health. Would that there comes a time when all people are free of the worst of possible situations.

It is reality that for every grand success of accomplishment worthy of celebration throughout history, someone, somewhere, was simultaneously suffering. For far too long in my life, I couldn’t reconcile the complicated mental gymnastics of untangling the two opposite realities that coexisted.

It has taken me a lot of practice to reach a place where I feel okay about allowing myself to be happy in the midst of an unhappy world. I don’t have any concise trick to offer toward how I achieve this milestone. I would say the primary factor is probably my developing a tenacity to repeatedly remind myself I am allowed to feel happy. Our happiness doesn’t automatically devalue the sorrow of others.

Maybe there is a trick. I would say it has to do with love. There I go again about loving others. If I am cultivating love for all people, my joy is not callously disregarding others who are hurting. I can feel their pain while experiencing my happiness. We are complex organisms, able to do more than one thing at a time.

We can celebrate the end of a difficult year, feel joy for our blessings, revel in the mysterious greatness of the universe, bask in the love of family and friends, and spread love to those who aren’t feeling it.

Bring on the new year. May it provide oodles and oodles more happiness for all!

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 31, 2020 at 7:00 am

7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Loving this space, John. You captured it perfectly…and you are so spot on…We CAN DO THIS!!

    “But I’ve come to value the challenge of allowing for happiness amid a world of sorrow. Doing so is more worthy than the alternative of not cultivating joy simply because of all the things that continue to be wrong in the world.”

    …BRILLIANT!
    Much love and light to you both and the happiest of New Year wishes! ❤

    lorriebowden

    December 31, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    • Your enthusiasm warms my heart, Lorrie. Thanks bunches! H N Y!!

      johnwhays

      December 31, 2020 at 6:04 pm

  2. Miserably happy (winning but at great cost) that can morph into happily miserable (being sad on a rainy day), perhaps?

    The fact that so many things can all be true at the same time is comforting to me. 😊

    Liz

    December 31, 2020 at 10:33 am

    • The fact that you find it comforting seems like a really healthy perspective to me. Huzzah!

      johnwhays

      December 31, 2020 at 6:02 pm

  3. “Paradox means you have to be able to keep two wildly different ideas in your head at the same time. […] But all truth really is paradox, and this turns out to be reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change, and something else about it will also be true. So paradox is an invitation to go deeper into life…”
    -Anne Lamott, Notes on Hope

    Liz

    December 31, 2020 at 9:12 am

    • Amen to that, Anne Lamott. Thank you, Liz, for sharing this. Might there be a term, “Miserably happy” that applies?

      johnwhays

      December 31, 2020 at 9:49 am

      • Miserably happy (winning but at great cost) that can morph into happily miserable (being sad on a rainy day), perhaps?

        The fact that so many things can all be true at the same time is comforting to me. 😊

        Liz

        December 31, 2020 at 10:26 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: