The idea of Eternal Happiness used to feel like waiting for the first snow, something beautiful and certain. The only thing you had to do was get through the other seasons and it would be there, inevitably.
That it was man’s destiny to feel happiness was my ultimate vision of it. The concept was replaced soon after childhood and I’ve learned that it is not our destiny to feel happiness, it’s our destiny to learn it.
But, there was always this feeling, scratching in the back of my head, that there’s something around the corner, something about to happen and never does, lingering my attachment to the future.
Living in that state of mind kept me from living in the now, and I didn’t want to reproach myself for an unlived life. I could see all my coming years, as grey as my waiting for them. But at some point, in scarce moments of clarity and attention, I could see there was happiness in the details of my days, all the little empathies, laughter, sadness and melancholy, they all manifested in joy and beauty, it’s beautiful to experience the sum of these emotions right when they happen, even the ones that break us. There’s no better feeling than being present for your own growth. That’s why, I needed to exist where I am and when I am.
I’m learning to be happy, day by day. I’m learning to forgive myself for my unhappiness. I’m learning to pray again, just like before, when I believed god was listening. I’m learning to take refuge in my family and friends, starting to see how humans are made for each other. We’re all just walking each other home. I’m learning to pay attention to the things that puzzled me in society. If I’m going to be silent, I might as well benefit from it.
However, learning to exist in this spiral timeline comes with the prospect of death, which, despite our best claim, is a much-needed hope. I can’t exist without, at least, the idea of death dancing with my thoughts. It’s surprising how many things have souls and how many deaths can happen within you, each time you’re the murderer in your own case. Nevertheless, these ideas of my “extinction” aren’t strong, they just visit every once and a while, a reminder of the finality of it all.
I thought unhappiness was one of my sins, if not the greatest of them all, against my “moral duty” that is to be happy. I never viewed the concept of sins to be of any religious reference. These were my sins. These were sins against me, as all sins are, but less obvious. It was around adolescence that I started dreaming of God. It felt as if I was asking his forgiveness for not understanding myself. Some nights he forgave me, other nights he did not. I realized later in life, I wasn’t asking for forgiveness, I was asking for refuge.
I fell in love with the concept of happiness at such a young age that I built my entire world around it: my passions, my books, the worlds I get lost in. I was using them to get through the other three seasons and they ended up becoming who I am.
We all look for happiness in our lives in one way or another, some of us have found it, others think they found, but it will always be a step ahead, another laughter to the divine, just one more minute to midnight. All we can do is pursue and learn.
Lately, I’m learning to be happy. Day by day, I’m learning to love summer, spring and fall.
Sura Smadi is a part time medical student, full time reader. She believes in empathy's power in changing hearts and eliminating prejudices, to a clinical degree. She hopes to become a forensic physician someday.