What I feel is not happiness
Sadness is something we have lived with, it comes and goes attaching itself to short-lived moments and moments that refuse to bid farewell. We understand its existence, but when your five year old asks why is he feeling something other than happiness, how do you reply? When did we all first feel sad; can any of us really answer that?
I looked into his forlorn, confused eyes and looked away instantly as a tear was making its way.
Papa, he said, I feel like crying but I am not hurt neither do I want any toy, I don't understand what I want.
Son, let me tell you a story. This is thirty-five years ago, when I was a young boy like yourself. I saw his eyes widen, as he attempted to understand that once I had been where he was.
I continued with my tale, there were no self drive cars, televisions were smaller and there was no Apple. His eyes widened further.
I was in Japan on a trip and we were in Kyushu, a stunning island in Northern Japan. The sky was a blend of violet and pink, and it merged beautifully, almost symmetrically to the center of the sky as if all of what had been ever lived revolved around that moment. The life your grandfather had led with your grandmother, his parents and then their parents.
He asked, where did this life start from?
I answered with a smile, no one really knows son, but all that had been lived, existed in the single moment.
I continued, the sea was raging, not with anguish but for how long it had waited for this moment. It was happier than it had ever been and I stood by its shores, my feet steeped within its very fabric and with every wave, I felt its embrace. Happiness, son, isn't limited. It is a feeling that unchains itself from its parents and becomes a part of any person or object of nature that falls in its path. It combines with seeds and gives birth to daffodils, it splashes its paintbrush on the sky and rainbows form.
By the shore, where I stood, a beautiful breeze encircled us, the sea and myself under the sky's glance.
Just then, another wave made its way and kissed my feet; it was then I felt what you just felt. The sky turned blank instantaneously, completely colourless, the wind halted and a part of myself travelled with the wave. I realised too late of what I had lost and swam after it, but it was gone. I was lost in a pool of endless waves, each one a reminder of what I had felt and lost. I finally came back to the shore, overcome by an emotion I hadn't felt; what was it called?
As I slumped on the sandy shore, another man sat beside looking at the sea with the same look in his eyes. I asked why he sat alone by the shore and he replied, the same reason I sat. He was trying to find the wave that had stolen his happiness. I went silent, and he continued, there is another way to find the wave, friend.
How, I asked.
There is a woman that sits by the cave, I have been told by plenty that she has the answers. She knows where the wave has gone.
Why haven't you been there, I asked.
The path is difficult, my friend, it is strewn with sharp pebbles, burning sand and as you approach closer, hailstorms, thunderstorms and lightening appear.
I looked at him crestfallen and he answered the question I dare not ask,' Some people have made the journey. Look at the shore, it is surrounded by people still experiencing the embrace of waves and people who have seen it go. If you are lucky, you will find someone in the arms of waves, willing to walk with you.'
Why would they, I asked.
'Love, my friend, the greatest thing in the world.'
I stood up and began to walk - it was miles and miles away, honestly son, hope was little but I began with the tiny steps of a toddler. I would fall, stand up and continue. Fall again and continue. Speed was slow and distance was immense, but I continued. I walked for years.
I had seen a defeated man by the shore, who awaited a tide so immense it would carry him away. I could not resign myself to a fate so bleak. So I continued. And guess who I met on the way? Your mother.
I met her on my last fall - I fell and I knew I had not the strength to lift myself. On the way, I had met other women but the walk was too long and arduous, and as I fell into my final fall from whence I knew I would not lift, she appeared, the sun shining behind her, the breeze dancing behind her, the stars glinting behind her, her hand, the hand of a Messiah extended and I accepted; she pulled me with all the strength she had and I felt my weak, quivering knees rising - I was standing.
'Did you get to the cave, Papa?'
I never did. I stopped on the way. Remember what I told you about happiness? It is the opposite of sadness, it locks not itself in a prison but flies like a bird that has never been caged. Your mother was my redemption; my tired feet did not matter for the were lifted off the ground.
'So you never found the wave, Papa?'
Not yet, son, but we are going to the beach next week, right?
He nodded with a smile.
It was Saturday, we were at the beach. The sun caressed our skin, the breeze inexplicably so tugging at our very soul and standing in the gleam of it all was my boy.
I was sitting by the shore, he stood up, held my hand and said,' Papa, let's find your wave!'
I stood up and walked into the sand melting under the warm water. As my feet lay submerged under water, he looked at me with glee and from afar, I saw my long forgotten wave, the one that had disappeared for over a quarter of a century approaching; Remember what I had said about happiness? The unchained wave made its way as I stood with the one that I loved the most, my wife, and the one that I cherished the most, my son.