Just a few minutes ago I said farewell to some dear friends of mine from the Los Angeles area that I had not seen for about nine years. Given the very scattered nature of my life and travels, it is unfortunate but true that there are long periods of time where I do not see people that I am very fond of (thank God for the internet!). One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Feast of Tabernacles this year for me was the ease in getting to know new “neighbors” in the Pacific Northwest as well as being able to catch up with others in an atmosphere that was safe as well as friendly. Given what the Feast of Tabernacles (and the Eighth Day) symbolizes, the joy spent with others of like mind and spirit, enjoying a foretaste of the happy ending we expect for the whole world, it was rewarding to feel so pleased.
Sure, everyone has to go home and return to the ‘real world,’ but I don’t really feel upset or sad in the least about that. I mean, I am having to get accustomed to a new area, new people, but I am refreshed by the opportunity for a new chance free from the sorts of anxieties I was dealing with before. Since I feel protected and delivered from harm, I trust that my more mundane concerns are not going to be overwhelming, whatever may happen in the world. I choose not to act out of fear, but with hope and love. Each of us has to face that choice for ourselves and respond accordingly. I do not therefore point fingers at others who choose differently, merely seeking to act in such a way that would best provide for my happiness both now and for eternity.
Why do people love happy endings? Whether we are people who are naturally sanguine and optimistic or whether our natural bend is towards gloominess, we all want happiness for ourselves (and, hopefully, others). We may struggle with doubts and fears about our likelihood of happiness and success, and we might not see what is best for us when it happens, and perhaps not for lon afterwards, but we all want to be happy. Sometimes we just have to stop getting in the way, and often we have to stop getting in the way of others. I find that happiness is not a very easy-to-find destination, but at the same time I find that when I am pursuing what is good in general, especially when my focus is not exclusively on myself but in service to others, that I find happiness along the way, even if there is still greater happiness I wish to find in the future.
A few years ago, one of my favorite 80’s bands reunited after a long breakup and released an album called Everybody Loves A Happy Ending. I would like to think that such happiness would be accessible to all of us. Regardless of how difficult or unpleasant our lives have been, so long as we live we have the chance to get better and to at least make amends for the past, even if it cannot be erased. Despite a decade of acrimony in the aftermath of the ironically titled album Seeds Of Love, the band was able to come together after their first hit, “Mad World,” had been re-recorded. The happy ending continued their thoughtful and tragically optimistic body of work in a more positive light.
And that is how I choose to view my own existence as well. Come what may, I choose to behave well, show concern for others, and do the best that I can. That is what I demand of myself and what I expect from others as well. Happiness can be difficult to find, but everyone deserves some happiness in their lives and we should do all we can to help others. And looking out for the happiness and best interests of others is a good way to find happiness for ourselves. Life is too short for us to spend it trapped in misery and fear, especially when there are so many others around who simply need some friendliness and patience themselves.