In the novel Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier wrote, “Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.” Abraham Lincoln said that most people are as happy as they choose to be.
Happiness as a choice. What an interesting concept. So many times I’ve thought that I would finally be completely happy if only… and you can fill in the blank with the desire of your choice. The blank was filled in differently at different times of my life. If only I could get that scholarship. If only I could get married. If only I could get pregnant. If only I had another child. If only we had a lake cottage. If only I were published. If only my books would sell a million copies. If only…
Last year, my “if onlys” were about other people in my life. If only David hadn’t died, I’d be happy. If only Dee wasn’t suffering and having to do chemo each week. If only CL hadn't developed breast cancer. If only my sister Kate hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer… and ultimately, if only Kate hadn’t died. Life has been hard these past few months. Sometimes it feels almost as if I’ll never be truly happy again.
But I know I will be. David and Kate will be so sad up there in heaven if I allow their passing keep me from choosing to be happy. Dee loves me and wants me to be happy—she’d be distressed if she believed that her illness interfered with my happiness. And there is much in my life to be happy about--CL is doing just fine, visits and Skypes with Grandboy, Son, and DIL, Husband enjoying being retired, good times with dear friends, good wine and delicious food, swimming, the lake, interesting work to do, and always, always, writing.
I remember a line from Steel Magnolias, where Dolly Parton says, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” I need to practice that… laughter through tears. Joy through sorrow. Choosing happiness. Look. See? I can do it... I believe I will.
Happy—that’s my word for 2015.