Common Things

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”

So said Henry Ward Beecher in 19th-century New England.

My children have schooled me in embracing common things.

Like yesterday. I was thoroughly pleased when Dutch retrieved my iPhone charging cable that Jack had crammed through the vent louvres, directly into the furnace. Dutch extracted the cable so I could again charge my frigging phone, and I extracted joy from this.

I like that preacher Beecher didn’t say “find” happiness, but rather “extract” it. As with pliers and a firm grip.

There are other common things that make me happy. Behold:

*Latching the doors in the evening at bedtime. We are shut up tight and I no longer must chase my errant kinder around the neighborhood while retrieving all the gardening tools, rakes, and snow shovels from the island in the cul-de-sac.

*Reading books about people time-traveling to 18th century Scotland. So it’s not Shakespeare, I know. Let’s pause while I slow clap for any geniuses who want to point that out to me. A little literary escapism trumps mental breakdown. Deal with it.

*When my clean bathroom smells like oranges and lemons for an hour or two between kid-bathing and the Code Brown. It’s fleeting, but so nice.

*Dried mango strips. Yes!

*Purging closets; dropping off bags of donations at DI. I extract obscene amounts of pleasure from the getting rid of the stuff. Have you ever wondered if maybe heaven is heaven because there we are unencumbered by things? Clearly, I have.

*Overcast summer days. And school’s imminent approach.

  3 comments for “Common Things

  1. Amy Stewart
    August 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I love it! I think I need to find my pliers (or go buy some, even) because the extracting is not going so well lately. I needed to read this today. You are beautiful.

  2. August 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Yes, extracting. That’s what I need to do. Today seemed, well, swampy (thanks to wet carpets at work) so I am glad you’ve tutored me on the accurate way to find happiness. There was a hummingbird that just stopped by outside our window. I think it was attracted to the purple and yellow sticky notes we posted on our side. Either way, I extracted a smile from seeing it out there. And I was happy that it was outside and not in here with the smell.

    And people don’t extract happiness from Shakespeare, just term papers.

  3. Mary
    August 18, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    “A little literary escapism trumps mental breakdown. Deal with it.” Yes and Yes. I know you can always tell how smoothly my life is going by looking at what I’m reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *