Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happiness Is....Love

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When I was a kiddo, there was a musical entitled, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."  This play was based on the cartoon character created by Charles Schulz and included all the cast of characters from the Peanuts gang.  I loved all of the songs but the one that still runs through my head every time I hear someone say happiness is, is this one. 

Now in this song happiness is:
  • Finding a pencil
  • Pizza with sausage
  • Telling the time
  • Learning to whistle
  • Tying your shoe for the very first time
  • Playing the drum in your own school band
  • Walking hand in hand
  • Two kinds of ice cream
  • Knowing a secret
  • Climbing a tree
  • Five different crayons
  • Catching a firefly and setting him free
  • Being alone every now and then
  • Coming home again
  • Morning and evening, daytime and nighttime
  • Having a sister
  • Sharing a sandwich
  • Getting along
  • Singing together and those who sing with you
The song finishes with "For happiness is anyone and anything at all, that's loved by you." 

I think I love this song because it makes the world so simple.  Remember when you were younger and loving really was a simple thing?  You loved your parents and your grandparents.  Sometimes you loved your brothers and sisters (OK, you always loved them but you didn't always like them).  You loved ice cream.  We each had our own lists of the things we loved.  It was simple.  It was easy.

And then we grew up and love became a very complicated thing.  We discovered that when we love we open ourselves up for hurt and sometimes the hurts were so bad that we determined to never love again, or we'd only love a little bit.  I haven't figured out how to do that yet.  It seems that when I love, whether it's my son, or my family, or my friends, or even my dog,  I love with all of my heart.  And yes, I do get hurt sometimes. 

But isn't that what life is about?  Whether we decide to risk or not is a choice.  Whether we love or not is a choice.  I get so irritated with people who say they've "fallen OUT of love."  Didn't they choose to fall IN love?  Love isn't a feeling.  There are feelings that come with love, but love is a choice that you make.  It's action that you take. You decide to love someone, and if you are fortunate enough to have chosen a mate for life, you choose each day to treat them with love or not.

Love is a noun, yes, but love is also a verb.  It shows action, it's not meant to be a passive feeling that comes and goes.  It's supposed to be what you do.  When you love someone you choose to do kind things for them, you choose to say nice things to them and about them, you choose to love them.  There are days when it is more difficult to do this, but it is still a choice that you make and you make it knowing that, yes, today is a bad day, but tomorrow will be better and I will love you all days.

Think about it.  When you first met your partner, you decided during the first date whether or not you liked certain things about them:  the way they dressed, the way they talked, the way they treated you.  Based on that first date, you made a choice for a second date, and then a third date, until the day you decided to spend the rest of your life together.  You made a lot of choices for love. 

I am amazed to hear people already talking about Will and Cate and whether or not their marriage will last.  This comes, of course, from history and the feeling of disappointment that we all shared when his parent's fairy tale marriage ended.  Will these two young people who live in the spotlight of the world be able to manage all of life and stay together?  They've only been married two days and already people are asking the question.

You see, I believe that whether we love or not is our choice.  I love many people.  I do my best to love everyone although I'm not always successful at it.  There are just some people who, it seems to me, make it very difficult to love them.  Try as you might, they don't want to be loved and as much as I'd like to say, "Fine, have it your way!" I don't.  I can't.  Because if I do, then I'm giving up...on them, on living, and on myself. 

For if we don't have love, then what good can anything else be?  Love is all the good stuff and I would much rather surround myself with the good stuff than all the rest.  Love really is as simple as Charlie Brown and the Peanuts characters make it.  It's choosing everyday to find something good in everyone and everything.  It's seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty.  I think this is the biggest reason I love working with children.  They haven't yet learned that there even is a half empty glass.  To them all the world is half full.  They relish every experience.  They can hardly get to sleep because the day has been so great and they know that tomorrow will be just as great or better. 
Because, Happiness is anyone and anything at all...that's loved by you!  It's your choice.

What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner. ~Colette

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