I read something beautiful. Actually re-read an old shared post by a dear big-hearted writer. About happily ever after. It spurred up all kinds of thoughts about how we exploit the big, crazy, wonderful, enigma that is hope. And how we overestimate the poor critter that is happy.
When I think of the first half of my life. I think about my doting parents who never wanted to see their daughter get hurt. Like most parents I suppose. I lead a protected life. And not the regular kind. But the triple layered bubble-wrapped-kind of a life. Where I read fairy tales, watched magical cartoons, and made up big castles in my head… because I had no reason to do otherwise. I think I really had it good…that good. And that happy too.
And then it was time for me to grow up. Somewhere along heartbreaks and heartmends…friends lost.. friends gained.. messed up exams… Misfit jobs…mistakes.. lessons…tears.. laughter…marriage. And then wait some more… kids. These wondrous beings make you grow up like there’s no tomorrow.
But there are a lot of tomorrows if you’re fortunate enough. Tomorrows when you see life like the real explosion it is. Where the mundane drives you nuts and though you dream of the ‘rare’ like a gorgeous black stallion riding off into the sunset… in reality it scares the pants off of you. Where you rummage through your childhood memories holding on to bits and pieces you accumulated for your happily ever after. But all you feel is sand slipping away through your fingers.
For some of us life truly happens after the intermission. Like those predictable movies where you know the first half will just drag on inconsequentially. The second half is what matters. Where emotions, choices, decisions, pressures, rights, wrongs,,… everything sucks you into a numbing vortex. And then bam! Epiphany! ‘Happily ever after’ becomes a fallacy. You realize that you don’t always want to run after it. Because you can’t. This constant tug and pull of adrenaline when you’re happy vs. when you’re not… is excruciating. You want to feel the fullness. And taste the ripeness of everything your life offers. You want to get pricked by thorns and remind yourself to not go there again. You want to sink your bones into the meaty flesh of pain, of confusion, of difficulty, of struggle. You want to smell sweet little successes and sing tunes of strength. You don’t want to whine and complain when you’re not happy. You want to keep looking forward with twinkling eyes. Because running after happy weakens the daylights out of us. Just like running after the end of the rainbow would. It’s temporary… relative….and sometimes irrelevant too.
In the good, bad, and the in-betweens of life it’s easier to look for hope than happy. God’s Glorious Quran is brimming with hope. There is hope for those who err. For those who repent. For those who make the wrong choices. For those who have a sick heart. For those who are lost. For the hopeless. There is hope times infinity.
Now I am a parent. And seeing my children happy when I take them to the park, or make their favourite meal, or goof around with them does give me a fleeting sense of mom-awesomeness. But deep inside I wish to see them hopeful more than happy. When they stumble and fall I want them to know that they can get up.. they will get back up. When no one has their back but God and hope that HE instilled in their hearts. I want them to run after it as selfishly as they would happiness. I want them to cling on to the idea of being better, brighter, every single day. Even if some days are dark, damp, wet…hopeless.
I want my children to be hopeful in a world that sells happy.