Happy Times

People are funny. They know what makes them happy. They work for happiness, plan for happiness, and when it happens, somehow, always wait for “the other shoe to drop.” Somehow, we feel that it is hard to be happy because the happiness is going to somehow end. As a fact of nature, that is true. All things end. Beautiful plants and trees die. Houses crumble. People leave us, both temporarily and permanently. But somehow, many people are so worried about the end of happiness that they don’t enjoy the current happiness.

I understand better than ever the Jewish custom of breaking the glass at the wedding ceremony to remember the destruction of the Temple. It makes perfect sense, because in this world there is no such thing as complete happiness. There is always the awareness of past pain and suffering, the memory of people who are not with us to enjoy the celebration, the longing for those people to share in our happiness. Yet, when the glass is broken, people respond with “mazal tov!!!!” and the music begins and the people return to rejoicing.

It is the way of the world. Our blessings come in the context of a reality that is not always so pleasant and happy. Yet, it is those happy moments that sustain us and give us the energy and the strength to go through the rest of life.

Yesterday I was recalling the times I spent with my four older children when they were young. I remembered reading them stories, doing art projects with them, taking them to the pool or to the park or to historic places. I remembered calling them “monkeys” and how they and I enjoyed their hi-jinx. I long for those days and yet know they are gone. I feel happy for them that they are experiencing those same types of joys with their own children. The happy times reside in me as places that give me comfort and happiness whenever I choose to remember them. The memories of good times, both major and minor, are treasures that we can always summon. The happy times are resources that we can treasure for our entire lives.

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