Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Today is a special day. My happiness cup is gloriously full in a way that makes me want to just sit and feel it while it lasts, as if there is nothing more important to do. Such a moment seems worth recording, at least for myself.

Now I would report myself as being "happy" a good deal of the time, but that rating isn't like this feeling. On most days I can intellectually consider my circumstances and conclude that I have every reason to be happy. The available blessings add up to evidence that I should be happy, so I decide to be. I try to make the choosing of a basic, puttering level of happiness a practice for my ordinary living.

But it's not so often that I feel this fountainously joyful, with my inner indicator voice humming and giggling away inside. Moments of ecstasy are usually and rightfully far apart in life. We expect them to come from events like our wedding day, the birth of a baby, or the achievement of a long-sought goal. But like some of my most memorable birthdays, this happy, happy day arrived because of two very normal occurrences--singing birds and test results.

When I went outside this morning, I heard those birds singing and found myself spontaneously laughing with pure joy. Birds, plural. That's the first time this year. It's one more sign that spring is truly near--not here, but near. It's really going to happen. Winter will soon release it's snowy grip and schlump off to another hemisphere. Oh, and it was sunny, too! The heavy lid of cloud had been removed, leaving room for joy to rise.

The other great reason to be happy today is that I have a healthy heart. After weeks of chest pain and palpitations and waiting for testing, I had a perfectly normal stress test yesterday. Whatever is wrong with me, it's not in my arteries or muscles, which means it's most likely fixable. A huge weight of anxiety is now off my psyche. I'm for sure going to live. Whew!

One thing about suffering and deprivation, whether it's waiting for a violent winter to end or coping with physical discomfort and fear, the cessation of affliction creates fabulous joy born of pure relief. There's nothing like it. Not that I would go courting it by creating misery from which to be relieved (well, not consciously anyway). I'm just happy that I get to be here and have more chances to fulfill my callings in life, now that I vaguely know what they are. I'm not done, and I'm awfully glad to think this morning that God doesn't think I'm done yet, either.

I wish that I could bottle this pure joy of just getting to be here under a broadly sunny sky, with bright future plans sparkling in my mind and a reasonably healthy body to do my bidding if I will only bid it and spring's promise in the still-freezing air. Then I could take a little nip whenever I'm just not feeling the love of life, warming myself with the memory of relief's gratitude, reminding myself of the pleasure of possibility. What an elixir that would be.

Realistically, the feeling will slip away, as feelings are wont to do. But I will remember. I will keep the knowing. And knowing is half the battle won.

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