If we are unable to recognize the beauty and gifts that take form in the humdrum events of our daily lives, can we say we know happiness?
or to pose my question more bluntly: If I can’t even be happy with the things I already have, how certain can I be that I’ll be happy once I get the thing(s) I’m chasing after?
I recall three excerpts from writers whose words and pieces I look back to often, that give my mind’s thoughts on happiness [or rather the precipice between discontentment and happiness] more flesh.
Marcel Proust, 20th century writer
“Once he had been dazzled by this opulent depiction of what he called mediocrity, this appetizing depiction of a life he had found insipid, this great art of nature he had thought paltry, I should say to him: Are you happy?
When you walk around a kitchen, you will say to yourself, this is interesting, this is grand, this is beautiful like a Chardin.”
and Charles de Montesquieu, French judge and philosopher of the 18th century
“If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.”
Lastly, we have the thoughts of 20th century English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic, G.K. Chesterton, contemplating on the habits of the one, great thinker:
“But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun.; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic monotony that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”