Love is Happiness

After reading about another f**cking mass shooting, which occurred on Sunday within a church in Texas, I was overcome with a sense of urgency to spread some happiness in the world. I planned on using happiness as a topic of discussion for next week but decided to share some brief, albeit positive, thoughts on it now since tomorrow is not guaranteed and I’m certain all of us could use a little positive thinking.

What makes people happy varies, but happiness can come from anywhere. There are times in my search where it eludes me, but as I was rubbing the belly of my best friend Sparky (my dog) this morning, I realized it is located in a source often overlooked.

Despite finding some happiness in several obscure ways (typical short-term forms of happiness that include buying a new TV or something), a consistent stream of it has come from the things in this life I love–the people who occupy my world, my dog, and a handful of hobbies are responsible for the joy I’ve found so far.

Think about the moments in your life that made you the happiest: the birth of a child, the warmth of the one you love lying next to you, kisses from Grandma, the first snow of winter–these are the things we tend to hold to higher importance and reflect on because they are some of the experiences we cherish most. What makes those experiences and memories so special is either the love we received or the love we gave, making love the primary source for happiness.

A story that makes me happy:

It was well below freezing on a quiet night in Wisconsin. February brought the familiar chill and painted the corners of my sliding door with a ghostly white fog as an orange glow from a nearby street lamp bounced its light off patches of ice in the parking lot. My apartment was unusually clean and warm (I used a space-heater to save money) because I was expecting company, which was due to arrive any minute.

When the intercom next to the door buzzed, I leapt to my feet with excitement. My door was next to the entrance so I hustled out, turned the handle, and with a ‘whoosh’ I swung the door towards me. Cold overpowered the artificial warmth for a moment, but I hardly noticed as my guest burst into the hallway and pounced on my leg. His tail wagging and nose glued to the ground, I beckoned him and his foster mom into my home.

I wasn’t sure what to do when he kept hopping on the couch and licking my face. Sparky seemed as excited as I was to meet him except he wasn’t nearly as tentative due to nerves. His foster mom, Tiffany, reminded me several times that I didn’t have to let him keep licking me but I wasn’t sure how to make him stop, or if I even wanted him to. He bounced from room-to-room and left not one corner un-sniffed, swaying his ropy tail frantically as he covered every inch of carpet with his nostrils.

Tiffany left after a couple of hours of discussing Sparky’s history, notifying me of any precautions, and taking a test walk before leaving Sparky and I alone for a sleepover to make sure we liked each other. I don’t think either of them knew it, and I wasn’t entirely sure of it myself, but I’m certain I loved him from the moment he ran through the door. I can’t say he shared my sentiments because he stared out of the window for most of the night, and the energy he displayed within the first hour of us meeting didn’t return for a few days, longing for the life he became familiar with.

But as days continued to pass, he seemed to let go of his previous life and began adapting to his new one with me. It only took about a week before I gave up on making him sleep on the floor instead of by my feet, and the bond we created is strong enough to make me miss him when he sleeps elsewhere on some nights. He is now my best friend, and the memory of those first few days reminds me the happiness love provides.

At the risk of sounding like a hippie from the 70’s, my conclusion is that the world simply needs more love to become the place I know it can be. We seem to be our happiest selves when living those moments described above or remembering the joy they brought. If we create more moments of love and share them with those around us, people will have more reasons to be happy and fewer to be angry; perhaps limiting the amount of conflict we see on a daily basis.

We create moments of love–we spread happiness–we make all right with the world.

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