Happiness and Harmony

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony." -Thomas Merton

Are we having fun yet?

Sometimes we equate happiness with fun. We bounce around from one fun activity to another seeking more and more happiness, more and more fun, at higher and higher levels of intensity. "Boy," we say, "That was really, really fun!!"

Don't get me wrong. I love to have fun. I have whitewater rafted through the Grand Canyon, sailed in the Caribbean, climbed mountains, travelled through Europe, driven across country and walked miles of beaches. 

Growing up in a large family, we were always having fun. Tennis, sailing, swimming, canoeing, volleyball, badminton, kickball, baseball, football... I could go on and on. Family gatherings were, and still are, events.

My mother especially was a role model for having fun. Even today, at 89, she writes, watercolors, swims, does yoga, and takes advantage of any fun outing she can. I was blessed to have been born into my family and I am truly grateful.

But even happy families are not all fun and games. Without the balance of quiet times, even sad times, without the discipline of hard work, the stability and rhythm of daily routines, the accepting of one another for our differences as well as our similarities, happiness would be fleeting at best. 

Musicians know that harmony is not the same thing as unison. We don't all have to sing the same notes to make beautiful music together. In fact, without the rich diversity of harmony, music (and life) would be rather dull. Still, a strong melody is essential; it's from the melody that harmonies are built.

My parents created a strong melody of unconditional love that allowed us as children to tune ourselves harmoniously, even through disagreements and difficulties. 

We always have a choice. We can sing the melody or harmonize. We can sing with dissonance or we can sing off key. We can even remain silent. What will you choose today? 

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another..." (Romans 12:15-16a)