Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Could you bear to be happy?

Ever since I moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia in the middle of September 2008, I have been happy -- delectably, deliciously, deliriously happy.

Sure, I've had the occasional test, like the time my vehicle got stuck in the snow on a country road. But even those challenges have turned into blessings. They have brought me into contact with kind people, angels in disguise, whom I otherwise would not have met.

When I first got here, I thought I was going through a honeymoon phase and that it might wear off. Now admittedly, it's still relatively early days for me in Nanaimo. But it is coming up for four months, and -- if anything -- I'm feeling even happier than I did when I arrived.

Some days -- and this has been one of them -- my joy has been so intense that I have found it almost unbearable. I am not accustomed to serving as the container for so much delight.

This has caused me to reflect on my past, when I rarely was as ecstatic as I am now. If sustained happiness could have been handed to me on a platter back then, would I have been receptive to it? Maybe, but then again maybe not.

You may be puzzled by my assertion that I previously could not have tolerated being too happy for too long and the implied extrapolation that many people are the same way. You may be thinking, "Of course I want to be happy. Who wouldn't?"

But just stop and think about it. Could you stand to live in a state of bliss for four months? Never mind that. Could you stand it for four days?

Based on my past performance, I would say I would not have been able to take it. I suspect I was too attached to sadness and fear. They were familiar. I was comfortable being uncomfortable, paradoxical as that may sound.

Having very few breaks from my current state of cheer has been a stretching exercise for me. But, wow, it feels to me like a nice challenge to have.

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