Nagging Happiness ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Nagging Happiness

The Inadequacy of Ordinary Looking-Forward-To

A comfortable euphoria accompanies the anticipation of our favorite pastimes—we smell the coffee, or hear the gulls crying before we find the sea. The joy of simple, reliable expectation is too often overlooked. But as much as I love my well-worn pleasures, something in me wants them magnified—blown up and posterized. They’re endearing, but too small.

That personalized delight I feel as I look forward to basketball, or a camping trip, or a riveting book—the joys that have been cultivated so long that I savor them without thinking—if only these sensations could be heightened and prolonged. If, somehow, the week-day ecstasies could lose their flightiness and put on weight. I want relentless happiness, but I suspect it will take more than an incredibly show-stopping hoops game.

This fugitive “feeling” persists throughout a life: a sustained glee, a pain-resistant giddiness, careless of immediate nuisances. Call it a nagging happiness. Sounds good, you say. Wrap one up and put it in a bag for me. And while you’re at it, point me toward Atlantis or the Fountain of Life, your choice.

What I want is elusive, and I know it. Arguably, it would take something more than the latest P.D. James. What kind of huge pay-off would be required? Fifty-two weekend get-aways a year wouldn’t get it done. A magnet strong enough to draw me that far, and that steadily—throughout life, optimistically for 80-some years—would have to dwarf the horizon. Fortunately, I’ve seen it, and it does.

This behemoth hope, the joy to end all joys, lurks at the edges of the sunrise. In moments of acuity, I realize the sunrise is merely a cloak for what stands behind it: something, Someone, who unfolds the sola like a sheet of gauze. Sometimes he appears more clearly, but at all times he’s there, standing in the imminent glow on the horizon, walking in the radiance. Steadily, the world grows brighter.

The joy I want, is, after all, undying. Invincible happiness may sound ridiculous, but I can taste it. If, at the end of each evening, I could turn off the light thinking, “One day closer, one day less to wait;” if I counted off hours like days before Christmas, counted seconds like diamonds on a string; if each moment had appeal simply because it passed—like ticks of the minute hand the night before a child’s birthday—this would be the life I’m after.

It would also be a life lived in light of the facts.

Fact is, the world spins madly toward its liberation, a day of freedom rapidly approaching. The Father leans forward, the Son smiles, the Spirit sings. Christ stands in the horizon, notching off each dawn. Another dawn, another daybreak, another tick of the calendar—a few brief instants more, and then—the fireworks! Deafening explosions of life, devastating and restoring everything. And what next?

Freedom, of course.
Freedom, O freedom.

Deeper, sharper, sweeter than we’d ever dreamed.

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littlepeace said...

That is a cool picture. :)

Dannyvan said...

Wonderfully true! How encouraging to read a succinct description of things that have been making me smile of late. Thanks, bro!

Ariel said...

Thanks, dannyvan. I like the new handle. So when are you going to start blogging?

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Okay, I may be a little biased, being your wife... but I don't think so. How beautiful to think of the tick of the clock of time passing not as a sharp warning sound of life slipping through our fingers, but as the clear ringing bell-like reminder that the real joy, the real life is closer than before.



Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife