Getting Back to Happiness

It’s a picture perfect fall morning, and I am looking through the bay window just behind our dining room. A postcard of red and orange splashed leaves hang from the tree.

I have been longing to be here in this space, where I can linger over the keyboard a little while. Where I can sit and just take in the warmth around me. If our old house was “the happy house,” then this one is surely “the light box.” It truly is a box of light at this hour of the morning and well into the late afternoon as the sun travels around to visit each of her windows. The rooms changing from an emerging yellow spark to an eventual soft orange glow.

It’s a place I could stay forever, both literally and figuratively. This room. This house. The place of light inside us all.

On a related topic, I have begun reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Here I Am. In the first chapter,”Get Back to Happiness,” we read of a middle-aged couple who have gone from that sacred space of worshiping each other and their relationship to a place where they “forgot to do things on purpose.” To where “the inside of life became far smaller than the outside, creating a cavity, an emptiness.”

This is a place that any tried and true couple can understand. That any person (period.) can understand. It’s uncanny how true these words are for me.

This time of year, around the Jewish New Year, is when my husband I celebrate our anniversary, and I often spend September and October remembering. Remembering “to do things on purpose.” To pay attention to the person I vowed to love and cherish. I “wake up” to the splashes of youth I can still see in his smile, that I may have been overlooking. I pull the cloth off of old rooms that we once inhabited. I look around. I pick up old relics. Hold them in my hands like prayer books. I begin to worship again this marriage and this person who made me in so many ways. Despite all of the feminist bones in my body, my current frame would not be possible without him.

And thus, I see so clearly how easy it can be to “get back to happiness.” It’s never very far, that box of light inside us. The love. The joy. The memories. They are always waiting, like fall leaves, just beneath the surface, biding their time. Until one day they can break into bright oranges and reds again.



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