In a person’s lifetime
there may be not more than half a dozen
occasions that he can look back to
in the certain knowledge
that right then, at that moment,
there was room for nothing
but happiness in his heart.
– Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
This quote, though it is ostensibly about happiness, makes me feel melancholy.
It is sad that we make so little intentional time and space for happiness in our lives.
Most people spend (waste) those joyful, happy moments being distracted — by worry, fear, their phone or some other electronic device, by thinking ahead or looking behind.
Whatever the cause, the moments pass by unnoticed and unmarked.
Thankfully, I DO remember some instances when I have specifically consciously realized:
THIS is a moment to remember.
There are several of these “moment memories” from when our children were babies. Becoming pregnant was not an easy road so when the babies arrived, I probably made more of an effort to be “aware” of the moments than some mothers might. Holding your very own freshly bathed, clean diapered, just fed, snuggly baby who is either asleep or falling asleep in your arms — well, there is nothing like it. I wished I could store those moments up for when they turned into raving teenagers telling me they hate me (which did happen, though I know they don’t truly mean it!)
Most people make an effort to stop and enjoy the big events: graduations, births, weddings, retirements, new jobs, new homes, etc. But even these milestone events often pass by in a whirlwind of activity or in a fog of details.
Once in a while I need to escape to a “happy place” in my mind.
This is when I draw on one of those memorized moments.
I have several of these images from which to choose. One is from a camping vacation we took with some dear family friends who had/have children around the same age as ours. We all enjoy tent camping, swimming, hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, etc.
My specific memory comes from a trip we took together several years ago to Clear Lake (“up North” in Wisconsin). The children (early elementary ages at that time) were playing happily in the sand or in the shallow water. My friend, Anne, and I had been sitting in our chairs in the warm sun (safely sunscreened, sunglassed and be-hatted with our crossword books and pencils in hand). Our toes were in the sand. We had eaten a picnic lunch on the beach.
I’m not sure where the “guys” were but maybe they were out in the kayaks or off riding their bikes.
I decided to get into the water. I put a floaty noodle behind my neck and around under my arms and another floaty noodle under my knees. I closed my eyes and just floated. The lake was clear (as advertised!) and cool but not cold. The sun was warm but not hot. The sky was blue and clear, with just a few small white clouds. There were not many other people around, so I mostly heard our content and creative children at play. I heard the birds, the small waves, and distant boat sounds.
We were all happy, healthy, and safe.
I realized — it was a completely happy moment — and I concentrated to memorize the feeling and all the sensations.
Here’s hoping you find a moment soon that is filled with nothing but happiness.
And here’s hoping you are aware of it when it happens.
To learn more about the woman behind this quote, click here.