There is a tree in our town that for several years has been anonymously decorated to commemorate various occasions –this time the 4th of July.
In these times of great seriousness over national dilemmas and disasters, these decorations not only offer a reminder to passersby to celebrate regardless of the turmoil du jour, they prompt us to ease up a little bit and smile. What a gift to the community!
As we enjoy family, friends and fireworks, we honor the Declaration of Independence, a simple document affirmed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which lays out our fundamental right as a nation and as individuals to freedom and, no less, the pursuit of happiness.
Benjamin Franklin, journalist, publisher, author, philanthropist, abolitionist, public servant, scientist, librarian, diplomat and inventor, helped draft the Declaration and was one its signers. Well known for his pithy sayings and moral prescriptions he wrote:
The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
Ah… Ever curious Franklin held the key to more than electricity!
Sometimes I think we defeat our personal happiness by simply not engaging in the active discovery of delightful, abundant, small and yes, even whimsical, joys. Occurrences that can counterbalance heart-disturbing news, sooth unsettled nerves, buoy lagging spirits, enrich our day and bolster our overall healthiness.
And then I remember Tolstoy:
If you want to be happy, be.