The Suitcase Lady


January 5, 2021, 6:21 pm

I found these lines in Louise Penny’s most recent book: “C.S. Lewis wrote that we can create situations in which we are happy, but we cannot create joy. It just happens.”

These words resonated with me. Somewhere, in the middle years of my life, I came to this same conclusion.

Happiness and joy, although close relatives, are not the same thing. Joy comes in bursts. It comes without warning or prompting. And it disappears just as quickly.

With work, happiness can be a way of life. This has nothing to do with being a starry-eyed optimist who thinks everything has happy endings. Every life contains sad days and hard times. Perhaps happiness is appreciating the preciousness of ordinary days and the multitude of gifts each brings. Even during these difficult pandemic times, the sunrises and sunsets still happen, the birds still flock to the feeders and the seasons still give their gifts.

Happiness and sadness can coexist. Joy, on the other hand, admits no other feelings. For a brief while, all cares and worries vanish.

One morning last week, in the first moments the sun appeared over the horizon, our gray cat received a luminous halo, a gift of light and a moment of pure joy for those of us who witnessed the illumination.

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