When was the last time you were happy? And I mean really happy? So happy, that it’s memorable. If you happen to be one of those Pollyanna types who responds to such questions with, “every day,” take an extra moment to consider the last time you were happier than you are every day.
For the record, I’m not shaming people who claim they are happy all the time; I’m just not one of those people. It’s not that my happiness is dependent on circumstance – that is a recipe for disillusionment. And I would even say that overall, I try for a joyful state of being. Still, for me, some days are happy and some days are sad; some days are wonderful and some days are terrible. Indeed some days I am grateful to be alive, but some days, to be perfectly honest, I am not. I’m a certain kind of human, and these are my uncertain kind-of-truths.
If there is anything we can count on in all of our human experiences however, it is that our lives will contain sorrow and suffering; what you do with yours is up to you. But life, however you think of it, is at least a part of the time, difficult.
Disappointments, failure, loss, grief, heartbreak, change, and challenges; our only reprieve, death. There is a certain dark humor in the way life happens and the way it ends: you struggle at least part of the time while you breathe, and your final reward is that you stop breathing entirely. What else is there to do but laugh?
Laughter is one of the things we forget to do when we’re going through a difficult time. Probably because everything seems so consuming and big and powerful – oftentimes more powerful than us. We forget to ask, “Where is the joke in all of this?” And maybe sometimes there isn’t a joke, but what of it? Maybe we learn to laugh anyway.
We forget that we are not alone. Not only that there have been millions of people before us who have been through what we’re going through – and survived, but that everyone who walks alongside us feels some sort of weight on their shoulders. We forget that this fact alone should make us a little less lonely in our pain.
We forget to be grateful, for our blessings and problems alike. This is a difficult one – to be thankful for the things that take away peace of mind. But one does wonder, can we even know gratitude if we did not also know distress? We forget to be grateful for those burdensome things that still made us stronger or wiser or kinder.
We forget to be more gentle and compassionate and understanding of the ways in which we deal with our brokenness.
We forget to ask and to answer, “How are you?” honestly and heartbreakingly.
We forget that all things are temporary, and that nothing lasts forever – including us, especially us.
We forget, perhaps most of all, that we are loved. And that even though this thing that we’re going through is not okay, somehow we will be; somehow love will be enough to get us through all of our difficult times, and that we might even be happy again.