What is the color of happiness? What is her shape? Her texture? What does happiness look like? Taste like? Smell like?
These are the questions that pass through my head while gardening this afternoon, reigning in the glorious explosion that took place in my garden this spring.
I want to know because I want to recognize her here in my life when she makes her appearances. I want to appreciate her, identify with her, welcome her in. I am worried that in all my endless restless yearning I am ignoring an old friend who I can’t quite recognize these days.
For so long it seemed as though the absence of crushing grief was enough to make my heart sing. Happiness came in the moments when it did not all fall apart–when I could put one foot in front of the other and continue on despite all that we were facing. Happiness looked like survival with a pinch of joy, hope and and wee moments of connection stirred in for good measure. Happiness was the journey of recovery–a path away from hurt. Happiness was strength that showed itself as flexibility–the ability to laugh as it all came tumbling down.
But now that recipe for happiness does not seem to be quite enough for this hungry little girl.
I long to sink into deep contentment with my life, so rich in so many ways. Indeed we have built so much, been given so much in the last few years. But there is still so much I want for Max and I, selfish as that sounds. I want our life to include cooking and eating healthy foods, not box after box of take out pizza and mac and cheese. I want it to include entertaining friends without apologizing for the house. I want it to include weekend adventures instead of weekends full of chores and catching up on sleep. I want it to include love and a family bigger than just the two of us. All these things seem so far out of reach for so many reasons–so far out of reach that I don’t want to pin the color of happiness on them.
I can’t quite figure out why I can’t shake the ambivalence and embrace this phase of life that I am in this waiting station, this resting spot. Its as though I am stuck at the half way mark–not sad, not even blue but not quite satisfied with what passed as happy not that long ago.
I am not quite sure what will shake me out of this mood. So, I find myself wondering, what does happiness in this next phase of life look like? Am I doing the right things to cultivate it for myself? For Max? Am I focusing on the right things? What on earth am I missing here? What is the color of true happiness and how can I get her to move in with me?