THANK you for answering my QUESTION!

Remember the scene in Moonstruck? Olympia Dukakis is talking to Danny Aiello - she's Rose, talking to the impossibly putzy Johnny Cammareri. She wants to know, "Why would a man need more than one woman?"

Johnny answers her, "I don't know. Maybe because he fears death."

In this family here - in my family, Rose Castorini's inflections, gestures, and manner are all employed whenever one of us says, "Thank you! Thank you for answering my question!"

This morning, First Sip has answered my question. Why are people so easily attached to sadness and pain, and so stubbornly unwilling to be happy? I have posited the question here, Is Happy Stupid? I don't think it is. I think it's one completely legitimate perspective, and that it's one we can choose if we want to. But why not choose it? What is the investment in staying worried, full of loss and pain, grasping, anxious, critical? Why is that easier??? (Now I hear SNL's Church Lady in my head. "Could it beeee .... Satan?")

Well, I want to say to First Sip, Thank you! Thank you for answering my question!

It seems easier to be in pain because the person in pain, loss, grief, anxiety, worry, covetousness, strife, (hmm.... list looking familiar ...) is a person doing something! It feels like control! It feels like power! At the very least, it feels like a connection and a purpose in life. But happiness? That's entirely different. You can touch it. You can enter it. You can let it bathe you with healing or light or peace. But you cannot own it. Happiness floats. This is Naomi Shihab Nye's poem.

~ 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 dust and noise
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 continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.


Jessica said...

I wonder . . .I am pondering . . . I am sure this post is the residue left over from our conversation the other day. I think it is a good way to explain happiness as floating. But maybe that's why it is sometimes so hard to remain happy, because one's troubles keeps you weighed down like a rock sinking in water. I know now, though, thanks to you, thanks to our church, thanks to God, that I want to float.
Love that.

Stephanie said...

Heavens, no, Jessica! I can't think of very many people who are better at letting happiness touch them and heal them than you are. This is just stuff I've been thinking about for a long time, and this poem was so perfect I had to post it.

And rocks can't sink you if you don't hang onto them. It's the hanging on that drowns us.

Jessica said...

Ahhhhhhh, so this is the meat of it all, then isn't it? Don't hang on so tight to the darned rock, and let yourself float. hmmmmmmm, I think a new cliche was just born. Poor Liv and John, they will tire of this one. (hee-hee)