Dear Isheeria’s Healing Circles Reader,
Welcome to my birthday carnival exploring the question –
“Do I deserve to be Happy?”
We are Creatures of Happiness
As a young man growing upon a farm in midwestern Illinois I have so many memories I look back to with fondness. I remember the humid summers, stacking bales in the loft of our barn in the heat as a boy, trying to keep up with the men as they grabbed two bales at once and carried them to the back of the loft to stack them in the ever-rising pile of hay. I could only handle one bale at a time, but I felt like a man doing man’s work, sweating, getting dirty, working up a veracious appetite that would only be satisfied by the spread produced at grandma’s table at lunch and dinner.
I remember too the fall, harvest time when the golden corn swayed in the breeze as the combine cut row after row down, reaping the golden treasure for transport to our grain bins. When I was old enough, I was allowed to drive the tractor that collected the golden corn and transport it in wagons back from the field. Again at 14 I felt like an adult, able to contribute to the welfare of the family as well as any of the other adults in the family. I was needed, even relied on, and that made me happy.
I remember the spring as well, a time of rebirth when nature shrugs off the sheet of ice and cold and begins to blossom again. Spring is a time of hope and renewal, but not in my family. As we hook up the disc and plow the dark, rich soil on our family farm, spring is a reminder of loss. It was in the spring that it happened. I wasn’t alive at the time, but I too felt the effects, everyone who came after did. Her name was Elane, and she was the joy of the family. While her grandpa plowed the field she tried to surprise him by jumping up on the back of the tractor, but she slipped, the discs ran over her young body, crushing her. He heard her cry, but too late. He carried her from the field in his arms, her breathing shallow, her eyes wouldn’t open. They put her in the arms of her mother and sped into town, but less than a mile from the very field where the accident occurred, she breathed her last. Little did Elane know, but when she left that spring day, something more than a little girl died. Happiness itself was taken from them. She left behind a mother and father who forever after struggled to say a nice word to each other. She left behind a brother, (my father) who blamed himself for not watching her more closely, and turned to alcohol and a gruff exterior, never letting anyone in to see the pain he masked. She left behind a sister who could not allow anyone, including two husbands to get too close to her for fear of feeling again the anguish of true loss.
As I watched this family growing up I somehow knew that they were broken. I didn’t know why fully until many years later, but I knew. My father and my mother split up when I was young, but I spent summers on the farm and saw firsthand people I loved going through the motions of life with no hint of happiness. Yet I knew and believe now more than ever that we are creatures of happiness. Let me be clear, not passions, but happiness. Passion is a necessary momentary splash of color in the much larger canvas of life. Happiness is the full palette that coordinates the blues and blacks with the lighter yellows and purples to give us the masterpiece that we all are trying to create, a masterpiece that will last forever. Do we then, deserve happiness?
A father stood in a field with his son, flying a kite aloft. The son cried out to his father, “Let out more string Dad, it wants to go higher!” His father let out more string and the kite took the wind, higher into the sky. After a time the son cried out again, “Let out more string Dad, it wants to go even higher!” So the dad let out the rest of the string, causing the kite to soar into the sky, now no more than a tiny dot high up in the sky. Shortly after, the son yelled out one last time, let it out more Dad!”
But the Father answered, “Son, there is no more string to let out.”
“Then let it go, Dad,” the son answered. “The string is holding it back!”
The Dad smiled, knowing what would happen, but seeing an opportunity. He let go of the string, the kite took off for a short time but predictably began to plummet to the earth. As it crashed to the ground the boy turned to his father and said, “I don’t understand.”
His father knelt down and tussled his son’s hair a little as the wind whipped across the field. “You see son, the string wasn’t holding the kite down, it was the resistance of the string the held the kite aloft.”
So what does this have to do with happiness? I believe there are rules, eternal rules that lead us to happiness. Not to pleasure, but to true happiness. These rules do not hold us back, they do not keep us from soaring higher, instead they provide the very grounding that we need in order to attain true happiness in this life and give us perspective to allow us to survive the vicissitudes of this life and the challenges it brings. Those rules are closely tied to my belief in God. It is that belief that gives me perspective when there is loss and hardship and despair. It is that perspective that allows me to smile again, to laugh again, to hope again, to be happy amid the tumult.
As I visit the graves of my grandma and grandpa and the little marker in between them of my aunt Elane, I think of that broken family and wish they had this perspective. I wish I could go back and teach them that they weren’t to blame for that spring day. I wish I could tell them that smiling again isn’t tarnishing her memory, but honoring it.
Robert J. Fluegel
Robert is one of my favourite authors, and the writer of the #MasterofBooks series, which make me wish I LIVED inside his books! PS: I applied too 😉
See exactly what I mean by checking out my post here.
Thank you Robert for being a part of my birthday celebrations!
Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us, and explaining such an important aspect of happiness.
About the wonderful Author:
Goodreads: Author Robert J Fluegel
Robert J. Fluegel lives in beautiful St. George Utah amongst the red rock and desert sands and mountains of southern Utah. He is the father of 8 daughters, 1 son and and several small lizards and spiders that live on his property.
Robert has always enjoyed telling stories, (just ask his mother,) and is at home when he is clicking away at his keyboard.
Spread the #happy happiness – comment and share. #isheeria