Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)
TITLE: Springs in the Desert
By David Butler
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“OK, so this is a series of interviews to get a broad spectrum of opinions on the concept of ‘Happiness’. Might seem a bit weird choosing that sort of topic for my PHD, but .... I could do with a bit of that myself after ... recent events.”
The eminent Professor of psychology paused in his discourse. His trained, professional awareness picked up some clues in her body language.
“This isn’t what you really want to know, is it Ms Jones?
“Oh, well, I mean it’s all good, but … putting aside all the theory for the moment … Are [i]you[/i] … happy?”
No one had put it as bluntly as that before, so it put him in a spin.
“Well, happiness is a relative term ..”
Impatient with his academic evasiveness, her aching emptiness cried out.
“But are you happy with your life?”
An uncomfortable pause.
“No, I can’t say I do. After all these years of study, trying to find it myself. No, I’m not happy.”
“But are you happy, Ms Faraday?”
“Huh? Are you crazy? I’ve landed the leading role in the latest blockbuster! I’ve two billion bucks in my bank account! A gorgeous hunk of a man to take home every night and squillions of fans wanting my autograph…!”
“So, you can honestly say that success has made you happy?”
There was such an honesty in that question that two tears started making tracks through the celebrity’s thick mascara.
“No. Sorry darling, it doesn’t. Promise you won’t tell anyone! Spoils the image, y’know.”
“Really, my dear young lady, isn’t that a rather personal question? Religion is supposed to make one happy.”
His smile was rather forced, however.
“I’m sorry if it offends you, Reverend, but religion so doesn’t cut it with me. I want to know, like, what’s real. Can’t you come up with something better than a set of rules, a moral teacher from two millennia ago and this vague concept of a detached God up there somewhere?”
Kellie wandered dejectedly through the park. She was too emotionally involved in her quest, and she knew it. All she could see were sad, clueless people in a sad, clueless world.
Suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted by the vision of a fine looking Asian woman in her mid thirties sitting on a bench. Her eyes were closed and a subtle aura of complete peace had settled on her, even though children were yelling and arguing all around her.
What was she on? Or maybe Zen Buddhism? No, all those dudes had an unacknowledged unhappiness under all their rhetoric. She looked different somehow.
Well, why not? The “experts” had let her down.
The woman opened her eyes. They were full of tears, which she wiped away.
“Hello. Can I help you?”
The quaint, charming Asian courtesy helped Kellie to overcome her embarrassment. She sat down.
“Yes, please. Sorry if this seems sort of weird, like, coming from a stranger. I’m Kellie, by the way ...”
She explained about her research.
“Well .. you looked, like, so peaceful, and I was going to ask if you were truly happy, but I see I got it wrong. Sorry, I don’t want to intrude, but.. are you happy or … not?”
She felt clumsy and confused.
The stranger, who introduced herself as Anne Yi, smiled again.
“That is quite all right. I am not offended. My husband and oldest son have recently died from a terrible accident and my mother passed away the week before. That is why I have tears. No, I am not happy at this moment. But it will pass.”
The woman’s misfortunes made Kellie's own look rather insignificant. There was something about Anne Yi that shewanted, but she didn’t know what it was.
“I’m so sorry. But why … why do you look so peaceful if you are unhappy?”
“I have joy. There is great difference between happiness and joy. Happiness comes when good things are happening. Joy comes from inside your heart, even in sad times. It is like refreshing stream that bubbles up in dry and thirsty desert.”
“Wow! How can I find this joy you talk about?”
Kellie had forgotten to turn on her MP3 recorder.
“You must first come to know the Source of joy. He is waiting to meet you, right now.”
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