I was, one day, standing by my window looking out. The sky was grey and pregnant with rain. I could hear the neighbourhood kids bicker as they played with gololi (marbles) on the wet soil making the most of their time outdoors before it started to pour again.
An amazing sense of peace and well being came over me; my heart felt like it would burst with joy. Tears pricked the corners of my eyes but they were happy tears. I stood there for quite a while filled with awe and gratitude.
Later I would sit down to wonder at that strange moment . It then hit me that happiness and joy apparently do not arrive with big momentous occasions.
I had thought that deep, tear inducing exhilaration came only when you got married. Or gave birth. Or bought a new house. Or graduated. Celebrated an anniversary. Welcomed a loved one home. Or realised a long held dream come true.
I had thought that big, audacious happiness came as a result of big ‘life changing’ events. But that lovely morning standing there, breathing in the smell of the earth after the first rain shower, watching the dark gloomy clouds which nevertheless promised so much; listening to the sweet childish arguments of the children immensely enjoying their game, I knew happiness is found everyday. In the smallest of things. In the things we usually take for granted. In the things we don’t even think about. In the things we don’t see anymore so commonplace have they become to us.
I realised that the small things are, in fact, the real big things.
You see, happiness and joy is not experienced after a happening or after an action or after an event. It is not something you experience during Eid or after landing a lucrative job or marrying your soulmate. It is in the smile of your little one, and in a meal well-cooked. It is your Mother’s hug and in the ‘hi-how-are-you’ text from your high school friend.
It is in the reminisces with your siblings as you laugh over shared experiences. It is in the beautiful heena on your hands. It is in the sun on your face and the water down your throat as you drink to quench your thirst.
It is in the greetings of a stranger and the kindness of your neighbours. It is in reading a good book. It is in the smile on your face as you think about people you used to know whose whereabouts you wonder about. It is in watching your kids as they focus on something that they love……….It is in the cool tropical breeze that fans you as you walk; it is in the people all around you who remind you of just how human we all are.
It is in the quiet moment as you sit contemplating on your prayer mat. It is in the now, in this moment, today.
So then why do we postpone being happy? Why do we focus on the negatives? Why do we define ourselves by our limitations, our sickness, our lack, our supposed helplessness?
Someone once told me about a colleague of hers who would greet everyone he knew with ‘Eid Mubarak Minal Eidin’ every day of the year. When asked why he did that, he replied: ‘ every new day is a reason to celebrate…..”
So go on. Rejoice and thank Allah as you go about your life even as you are doing ‘boring’ everyday things. There is so much beauty and joy to be had. Don’t deprive yourself of them.