So Much Happiness
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness
With sadness there is something to rub against
A wound to tend with lotion and cloth
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up
Something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change
But happiness floats
It doesn’t need you to hold it down
It doesn’t need anything
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing
And disappears when it wants to
You are happy either way
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
And now live over a quarry of noise and dust
Cannot make you unhappy
Everything has a life of its own
It too could wake up filled with possibilities
Of coffee cake and ripe peaches
And love even the floor which needs to be swept
The soiled linens and scratched records
Since there is no place large enough
To contain so much happiness
You shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
Into everything you touch. You are not responsible
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
For the moon, but continue to hold it, and to share it
And in that way, be known
One more time, I don’t know who wrote this. Thank you whoever and wherever and whenever you are. You could be a monk living in 200 BC or you could be a commuter on yesterday’s subway in Toronto. No matter. All that’s important is whether I’ll learn from you.
I agree with the author that when you’re truly happy there’s nothing to rub against, no cause staring back at you in our day-to-day world. Of course good things happen to us (“I got a _____”, “_____ loves me”, “I accomplished _____”) but those don’t touch the essence of happiness. Somehow, it comes from within (or from … somewhere), uncaused. It is by grace that it touches us. And so we float.
At this depth of knowing, my neighbour’s happiness, my co-worker’s, my “enemy’s”, is mine as well. Their smile has no power to diminish mine. And when I have troubles at work, or my back hurts, or the dog ate my homework, those are only ripples on the surface. Far beneath is the cool unmoving benediction of peace.
It is true, I believe, that the body is too small a container for this happiness. It has to leak out – from the mouth, from the eyes, from the hands. And those dribbles turn into rivulets … creeks … streams … rivers … reaching everyone within eyesight and earshot. Reaching them on some level anyway, maybe not consciously.
And the source of this boundless happiness is unknown. We don’t earn it. We aren’t any type of chosen one. It falls as gentle rain onto upturned hands.