Tag Archive | happiness

Happiness is a little boy sleeping in the garden

I don’t exactly know why, but it’s easier to write about pain. When the depression hits, it’s when writing helps the most, and it’s when I reach for the pen or the keyboard. Sometimes it gets posted; most times it remains private. But it does get written.

Joy is more elusive, both in life and in writing. There are precious few words that can capture laughter, or the feeling you get when the wind is blowing in your hair and you feel like you can fly.

But today, I had a good day. There isn’t anything world-changing about that, and in the light of the recent disasters in the news, it actually sounds frivolous and self-indulgent. But sometimes when tragedy dominates the horizon, redemption can be found in the little moments. And I had one of those moments today.

For the past week, I’ve been home with my family in the town where I grew up. I left Dumaguete for the summer, both to lick my wounds from a recent episode of depression and to gather strength and figure out my next step. It’s not something I usually do, wanting to prove that I can make it on my own. But this time, I knew I was right to come.

My mother loves to garden, and this summer the yard is in a riot of colors. So this afternoon, I took my 3-year-old cousin out to play in the sunshine. There was an unbelievable number of butterflies, and we walked around peering under leaves to look for caterpillars and cocoons. It was windy, and the breeze made a cotillion out of the bobbing pink and yellow flowers, with the flitting butterflies as their graceful partners. A fat orange kitten ran around excitedly chasing them.

And I was content. I refused to think about how fleeting the moment was, and how nothing in my future was figured out, and tried to go back to my childhood when a lifetime’s worth of daydreams could fit in a single afternoon. For now, all that mattered was the curious, happy, deeply beloved boy playing in the sun, the vivid loveliness of the day, and nothing else. We set up a folding bed in the shade, and with his precious, little-boy weight pressing against me, I allowed the hypnotic movement of the butterflies and the cheerful chatter of the birds in the siresas tree to lull us both to sleep.

When I woke up, the sight of the sleeping child beside me, smelling of sunshine and chocolate, felt like something indescribably profound…and healing. I thought, I want to remember this. So I tiptoed inside to get the digital camera, and took a few photos. Sometimes happiness comes with fireworks and fanfare, but at other times it’s as quiet as an afternoon nap in the garden with someone you love. Either way, it deserves to be celebrated.

In defense of joy

…We have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid….This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else.

Ursula K. Le Guin in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (The Wind’s Twelve Quarters)


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My Favorite Things

Happiness is made up of fleeting moments of beauty, and beauty is everywhere for those who have the eyes to see. Here are some of my favorite things – gifts of beauty that have filled my life with joy:

  • my family, the most wonderful people I know
  • summer – when all the flowers are in bloom and tree branches are laden with blossoms
  • a slow, lingering look that speaks a thousand words
  • kittens
  • long conversations with dear friends
  • a beautiful song heard at just the right moment
  • dancing
  • a really good book that I can read again and again
  • December – when the nights are cold and the stars are clear
  • a baby’s smile
  • long evening walks with no particular destination or purpose
  • moments of silence and solitude
  • chocolate
  • the gift of laughter, and the ability to laugh at ourselves
  • a gentle, golden sunrise – when the world seems to be young and pure and perfect
  • the wind
  • sweet-smelling flowers
  • trees silhouetted against the sky
  • a long hike ending in a waterfall
  • memories – both bitter and sweet
  • time spent in prayer
  • finding comfort and courage in God’s word right when I need it the most
  • handwritten letters
  • barefoot walks on the beach
  • the privilege to worship God
  • rain and rainbows
  • sunsets – dazzling and glorious, but at the same time profoundly sad, as if the sky wants to give one last splendid performance before it surrenders to darkness
  • sea shells
  • a view of mountains in all their moods
  • the night sky
  • grassy meadows stretching to the horizon
  • tears of release and healing
  • poetry
  • wide, windswept fields of cogon grass under the summer sky
  • music
  • a good movie watched with a friend or my sister
  • shooting stars
  • the privilege to tell my little brother stories
  • private jokes with special people
  • hugs and handclasps
  • butterflies

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Little Dreams

Time is fleeting, and life is short. I do not know when my journey on earth will end, but I hope that I can fulfill these little dreams before it does. = )

  • go stargazing on a beach in El Nido once again
  • finish reading God’s Word from Genesis to Revelations
  • read the books I’ve always wanted to read but never had the chance
  • write my literary masterpiece – it do not know if I will ever become a published writer, but I do want to be able to read my own work and know that I have put all my heart and soul into those words.
  • learn Cuyonon, my father’s native dialect
  • go abroad (somewhere in Asia, God willing), to share the Good News
  • learn to play a musical instrument
  • slow dance with the love of my life
  • plant my dream garden and mini-forest
  • learn to speak,read and write Elvish
  • name two of my future daughters “Alisea” and “Arwen”
  • visit my mother’s hometown in Mindanao
  • learn to swim
  • go to New Zealand, take the LOTR tour, and spend the day in a mountain meadow
  • climb a siresas (alatiris) tree again
  • learn sign language
  • watch a meteor shower