33: Happiness

I reject happiness as an absolute good not because I am unhappy but because we don’t understand it, although we might think so. No one else can say better than yourself whether you’re happy, but why should we believe you? My own happiness is also suspect. Children are supposed to be happy, but I wouldn’t ask the kid next door if he were happy. What would it mean? The little man of the house, he explains things to his mother, who worries about everything, it seems— her mother with Alzheimer’s, her husband working abroad. The boy would say anything to please her. A child’s happiness is no different than an adult’s. The complications of growing up, making one’s way among others, tangles the roots, twists the heart. But it can happen. The spirit escapes from difficulty and mediocrity. It frees the blind, rewards the least deserving. How? One might as well ask how a hug can comfort or how a sunset can seem beautiful. And why? Why open one’s eyes, why eat, why struggle?

Small safety pins