Pursuit of happiness


    There comes a time when everyone has that quietest of conversation with oneself. It probably happens after a raise, a promotion, before a marriage, at the end of one, at the beginning stages of a relationship, or at the end of a loved one’s life. Most likely, the catalyst is a major life decision that changes the path of one’s life. The conversation invariably becomes one in which the future is questioned, but more than likely, the past, and decisions made that have led to the metaphorical fork in the road are what one mulls over. How happy are we?


    As I sit here typing away, I am thinking of a friend’s upcoming marriage. He is like a little brother to me. This friend’s family is my family. It is the epitome of the ideal happy family life. The husband and wife team love each other dearly. They have eleven children, and each one of them knows that they are loved, truly and deeply, by their parents and their siblings. It is, quite simply put, a house of love. The physical distance between the members mean nothing, the love is just there.

    A stranger happening on this thirteen member family could see the love that oozes out of their pores. And every time I am around them, I am aware that even I fit into the folds of the family. A cynic would wonder what they could possibly be smoking to keep up such pretenses of happiness. The answer is ‘nothing’. It is as if there was a greater being out there who made this match and knew that nothing could stop it. Sure, there are moments when a child does something terrible, and the parents are annoyed. But the sense of humor prevails. This latest groom has been the most troublesome, getting in brawls and spending a night in jail for drunken foolishness. The family joined in and got him out and the parents gave him a good talking to. As proof of the family’s amazing sense of humor, it is the funniest joke in the family vault.

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    And now he’s getting married. He told me a while ago that he knew he made many wrong decisions, but that nothing felt quite so right as when he was back in the fold with his parents and brothers and sisters. Every time he went back home, he felt alive and well. Every time he fell down and made the wrong decision, he crawled back home, and knew that his family would pick him up and give him the strength to go on. Now he knew he wanted to create his own family, a little unit whereby he could pass on the love and lessons he culled growing up in such an amazing environment.

    In a world where there is so much grief and selfishness and despair and hate, where families tear into each other and try always to best the other, making decisions that hurt, rather than bind the family together, hearing this confession was a clear cut message.

    I want that.

    My little ‘brother’, along with the rest of the family, has shown me that not all is lost. That coming from a broken home, and enduring sexual, emotional and physical abuse did not mean a life of despair. That one makes decisions out of love, and one grows up eventually and charts their own course. No-one else lives your life but you. And whatever you pursue, your decisions make it happen. There will always be someone who will show you love, someone who will make that arduous journey a bit easier to bear.

    It is not an easy journey for sure. As is often the case, there will be distractions, and people out to trip you. It is all a matter of keeping the goal in mind, making sure that no matter what, you never lose sight of the dream. Perhaps given one’s history, one might end up with someone who takes advantage of your vulnerability, and abuses of your love. Take that as a life lesson and apply it to your arsenal for the next time you find yourself willing and wanting to trust. Falling down once, twice, three times, simply means you have even more interesting stories to store in your own personal vault. It could be a friend, it could be a business venture, or something as major as a relationship that requires more than the standard dinner and a movie. Always remind yourself that your pursuit of happiness is ultimately up to you, and never be afraid to accept help along the way.           

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