What would happen if we awoke to nothing but happiness? Would we grasp the meaning, then?
|The day began like any other. Sun poking over the rooftops and there it was. |
I lay in my bed, at the crossroads of the first few seconds of intelligent thought.
There were two choices at hand, but unlike other mornings of shoulder shrugging acceptance, today I saw my options clearly.
I could begin this day by slipping on a pair of special glasses, the lenses coated with fatigue, worry, left over anger from yesterday, bitterness, disappointment and accusations.
I could choose Depression.
All the basket cases, falling-over-full, of the oldest negative events and failures that I could dredge from my suddenly one hundred percent efficient memory. These dark voices crowding into my mind were somehow tempting, a sort of cynical pleasure found in each one, a jaded case-hardened view of life - and my fellow man.
Yes, I could choose to yawn, feel an imaginary illness that promised to drag on through the day, keep me scuffing about the house in dressing gown and slippers, with bed hair and gritty eyes. No, I wouldn't bother showering or shaving, leave the exploded bedroom, untidy living room, piled high sink in the kitchen. What is a toothbrush for anyway?
But the other choice, the more costly one, having to get up out of my warm bed right now, would yield all the daylight hour dividends. Ahead lay a whole day of potential, bestowing each moment with untouched, unsullied brand new opportunity.
Before I could stop myself, I punched the mental button, and chose Happiness.
With thoughts paused as this new "game program" loaded, I began the day bowed in thankfulness.
My two fists grabbed the blankets, straightened the bed over my jutting feet, and with a lunge as my bare feet hit the floor running, I smoothed the bed cover, finishing it all off by chucking the pillow onto the headboard.
I ran for the bathroom, shouting YES!!!
Yes is a yellow word, I believe, or orange, the same colour as the sun. The same hue as sunflower petals, orange juice, a nostalgically painted hotrod or even a high visibility safety vest.
After a hot shower, a shave amid warbled pouting songs aimed at the grinning fellow in the mirror, the morning fast forwarded to the next scene grab.
I munched a hearty breakfast; sipping scalding hot coffee, with the kitchen and living room already tidy.
Plans, needs, requirements and time prioritised, I breathed in today.
Big beautiful lung-fulls of invigorating air that clicked my spine and strengthened my shoulders, supported my smile and lifted my head to face all the fantastic things today would gift me.
You know as well as I , that on days like this, you can never remember later if it was sunny or raining.
Those things don't mean happiness or sadness.
You are already happy with whatever happens, whatever people say and whatever your shoe accidentally treads on.
Really! It's true. And I knew that I mustn't let up that button of Happiness that I chose to select early this morning.
These buttons of choice don't seem to be so readily available if you sleep in so be warned.
Outside I rushed, under a huge blue dome, the sky an immense sensation of freedom above me, a giant expression of the limitless boundaries of today's achievements available for the taking.
Just as well, because I felt a lot taller than usual. There seemed to be a weightless feeling of optimism that boosted my vision above the clouds, if there were any. No computer game, painting, mega-pixel photograph, movie or sketch could do this justice, could not recreate such a palette of colours, smells, sound and wonder.
Two dogs immediately attacked, slobbering lolling tongues, paws wiping layers of grass onto my denim jeans. Their friendly barking and tail wagging enthusiasm is infectious.
I impulsively decided to roll around on the lawn with the delighted old Labrador-Beagle and the juvenile Border Collie-Springer Spaniel ignoring the remnants of the dew in the early morning shadow of the shed and rose bushes.
Then I realised as I lay there, being licked to death by delighted devils of doggies, a flock of birds noisily flying overhead in the depths of the blue heaven, I realised that I wasn't the only one sampling today's awesomeness.
On a roof next door, a neighbour was already shouting instructions to someone on the ground, enthusiastically engaged in cleaning the spouting of leaves, laughing together.
Over the fence on the other side, a man who usually never showed his scowling face before ten o'clock had mowed the front nature strip, the driveway and part of the rear lawn near his clothes line. He called a friendly hello, unheard of niceness at any time of day,
As the dogs rushed around the front yard barking, I spied the mail man arriving oddly early on his step-through postie bike. He was waving some envelopes held together with their traditional rubber band.
"No bills!! Just cheques from anonymous donors today!" he yelled and with a twist of his wrist, he revved his bike and rode on to the next address.
Of course, I didn't believe him yet, until with trembling hands and face with toothy grin, I saw three cheques with large amounts of dollars inscribed on each.
"What is going on?" I looked around as if someone would come and take them away now. I had no right to this money and something felt strange today. There was more to come as I stared across the street to other neighbours who had come out to fetch their daily paper only to find the mailbox full of pleasant surprises too.
Back along the street from where the postman's bike had travelled, other people were standing on their front porches, scratching their heads and calling out incredulously to others. There would be some relief from bills this week.
But would money really bring happiness? NO!
All of these people had chosen to be happy today, I was sure of it.
Things don't "bring" happiness. It's not a place we travel to either. We choose what we'll be each day.
Today there were no clouds. Nevertheless, I felt that every single person on earth, in spite of everything being so positive today, would realise that it couldn't last.
Clouds would come. Storms. Accidents. Mistakes. Wickedness. Crime. Failures. All those things that encourage us to change our mood and choose again that downward road, that draining, robbing emptiness called Depression. People would all be tempted to choose again those more easily gained lifestyles, moods, excuses, reasons and selfish malicious short lived habits that wouldn't come close to measuring up to Happiness.
I walked back inside with my paper, turning to look for jobs. Yes, I had been unemployed for an uncomfortably long period. But now the die was cast; I had chosen to have a good mood, and to expect the best from people today, expect that I could make a reasonable attempt at keeping positive.
There's nothing like a hot cup of your favourite beverage to bring the best out of the future, and place it right here in the mug held in your hand.
That's what I'll choose today. What will you choose?
* I decided, upon reflection, to add a footnote to this "story" because I believe sometimes Depression is not always a matter of choice. For some, it's a chemical imbalance or some other reason outside their control.