Happilightfulism: noun, a word which describes the small moments during life when you must simply stop and appreciate the beauty of things.
Sort of like this picture. It makes me appreciate life more and puts a smile on my face. I think Happilightfulisms are found the most when you really stop and think about how wonderful life is. Happilightfulisms often come with the state of contenloveliness. This can be brought on by a small act of service done to you, a thoughtful word from a friend, the stunning beauty of a rainy day (or a shining one, whichever type of day you like best, really) and most especially, happilightfulisms can be found in books.
Not just any books, you must realize. Only the best books. Books where you are left with the sure knowledge that good overcame evil, but that there were losses along the way. Trials where not everything turned out the way the hero (or heroine) may have wished. Times when things simply didn’t work out. Sacrifices that broke their heart. And yet at the end of the day, this protagonist was able to stare at a setting sun, or the person they loved, or simply at a cozy fire with a well-read book, and say ‘I have done something good today. I have made my life and others lives a little bit better.’
I loves moments like that. Moments where you realize once again just how amazing the human race is. It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, catholic, polytheist, muslim, or LDS like me–anybody can take the time to simply sit back for a moment and wonder at the beauty of life, love and the creation of the chocolate chip cookie. To think and reflect for a moment on how yes, we do have a tendency to fight a lot–but we also help each other. We also love each other. We also pursue the idea of becoming a better person.
So, take the time to enjoy the funny little happilightfulisms of life. They might go unrecognized otherwise.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of overcoming, and improving yourself, and simply being able to pick up the pieces when it all falls apart and move on. That’s why I like books like Airman by Eoin Colfer, where Conor finds a way to give up revenge if not entirely forgive; and the determination of Dodger to take whatever life throws at him and do well at it in Terry Pratchett’s Dodger; and the unending kindness of Jane in Pride and Prejudice. It’s part of the difference between making your life great and simply settling for so-so. There is a poem by Charles Osgood that gave me the present of a little happilightfulism. It’s titled Pretty Good:
There once was a pretty good student
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn’t terrific at reading,
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
Since nobody taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
5+5 needn’t always add up to be 10;
A pretty good answer was 9.
The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception:
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.
I guess there could be many points to this philosophical post of mine (hopefully the first of many philosophical posts of mine). But the general ‘moral of the story’ that I want to share is this: we don’t have to settle for just ‘pretty good’. With books, with love, with life, with our happiness. You don’t have to go through life only encountering happilightfulisms every once in a while. you can have them as often as you want, because you should never have to settle for something that doesn’t make you feel just a little bit better about yourself. There is a lot of lame books out there, and a lot of lame movies and TV shows too. But there are also delicious romances, witty soliloquisms (or soliloquies, whichever you prefer), and heart-wrenching tales that are worthy of our praise. So praise them. Notice them. And maybe you’ll help someone else discover a happilightfulism on the way.