Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Fear of Happiness

May is such a permissive month, just by virtue of her name. After a long season of winter, May is the first opportunity, day or night, that being comfortably outdoors is an option. May nights are the best, especially in a full moon, since the soft glowing orb sits low in the southern horizon here in my state. May brings more blue flowers than any other. Pulmonaria, catmint and a blue salvia appropriately called “May Night” all give the garden a soothing effect. Working so many hours in the restaurant, it can be easy to overlook the fleeting gifts like these. So to avoid that, I have purposed to take a few minutes each day to be more observant and lie in my hammock. Strung up between the 30yr old ash tree and the ever-growing-obsolete playfort, I kick off my kitchen clogs and stretch out. And most days, I fall asleep immediately. After only a few days of this practice, I discovered an anxiety creeping into my thoughts. Where would this be coming from? Our business is going very well. The garden is responding as it should to slow rising temperatures and occasional rains. The southern breeze felt as if God himself were sending it just for my pleasure and to cap it off, no artist could mimic the simple contrast of blue and white in the sky. Why so anxious? Everything around me at that moment was fragile. Prosperity, seasonal beauty, and a settled soul. These conditions could turn on a dime. Our business could get sued or a tornado could come through and wipe out our little urban oasis. I, or anyone I love, could get sick or worse, in an accident. Nothing I hold is very secure. Could it be that I am more comfortable being depressed than happy? I don’t want to be disappointed, nor do I want to be hurt, so I opt for a vantage point closer to the bottom of the canyon instead of ever working to climb higher to get a better view. This way, if the rock slide comes, I won’t be swept away from my desire to enjoy something more beautiful. I’ll still find myself at the same low place. I just won’t be as disappointed. Beth Orton sums up the logic of the fear of happiness in this line. “If I never saw the sunshine, I wouldn’t mind the rain.” Fear not. Hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

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