Happiness Smiling in the face of defeat

I’m happy to announce a series of guest posts on the subject of Happiness – something very close to my heart. I’ve asked a few people to share their take on this subject and we can all look forward to wonderful writing here. I’ve known her for about two years, this lovely lady from Hong Kong – a friend from the blog brigade!  Somehow I sensed that Indy is a woman of a lot of depth and courage – although she insists she’s timid! After reading the story she’s shared here, I know Indy is a woman after my own heart – one who has learnt to be happy in all circumstances. So go ahead and enjoy this post.

Isn’t it true to say that we have all lived a semi-sweet existence? Is there even one of us that can boast of a completely pain-free life? I’m sure there wouldn’t be anyone!

I guess it’s true that life on earth was not meant to be paradisaical, or what place would heaven have in our scheme of things! I do believe it was meant to be for later, the dessert course…the rewarding finale, as taught in many faiths, as well as mine! And so be it!

But, it still remains within our reach to turn the cards that we have been dealt with in this earthly life into winning ones! And it does not come by always winning every situation we face, getting all we have ever desired and more nor being a champion all along! In fact, it is in the acceptance of life as it may be for you, and the will to remain happy despite it all!

My most favorite saying of all has been (since school days):

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference

I know this is fairly popular and oft repeated but the meaning of this struck me deeply and effected a change in me only several years after I had made it my motto!

As a pampered child, I had felt that this cushy, protected environment of unchanging security and stability was my birth right! I was raised well, in the best of circumstances and had the brightest of futures! However, human frailties around me, were long being over looked and ignored, and I had hoped by being loving, forgiving accepting we could change anything!

But, evil being almost as powerful as good…. just almost, and it sometimes wins!

So then started the downward trend in my life! Misunderstandings between family members after marriage and business politics dealt a strong deeply seismic shake to our solid impermeable life!

I had to gather up my two (then) baby sons, and leave, with hubby, to start life afresh under worsening financial circumstances, and no proper plan in mind! As we moved , from a place that had been home for nearly twenty years since my return to India, a new city and new challenges awaited me!

Hubby had to travel more in search of the means to survive! Living at the mercy of relatives, is not the best way to live, especially if they find it the most opportune time to bring out the dirty laundry! But, God willed it and so it was!

In all this turmoil and suffering we again were given the gift of a baby, this time a girl – something I had so yearned for! But the timing could not have been any worse! We were still, very nearly broke, had shifted from relatives’ home to my parents’ new home in a new city, to out of again after my Mum passed away, to my in-laws home! As ours is a matriarchal system this was just not done, and again I knew we had to leave sooner or later. Yet, it was only after my daughter’s birth that things started to move towards the positive! Possibilities and choices that were not present before came out of nowhere!

To go into the details of all the slights, rude comments, jokes that my little children and I were subjected to, would be too painful for me, and possibly too boring for you. So, let me just skip over the minor details, and get on to the point when I finally decided to take my saying to heart and live it!

We tried to settle in Hong Kong, away from all the hurtful, vile politics of family…but failed the first time. I was back after having left the kids with my mother-in-law for two months. I was trying to let go of what I thought had turned out to be a hopeless dream!

I sat myself down and said:

I am not going to wait for tomorrow to live each day happily…anymore!

I will not wait for my own kitchen and the security of my own home to cook up tasty dishes for my children!

I will not wait for hubby to be by my side to smile! He was doing his part to get things sorted out, but until then I must live life happily alone.

I will not yearn for love of family, that is not forthcoming but see all of it in my
innocent children’s eyes and live by it!

I will not scrimp and suffer by not buying even the smallest things waiting for the day we would be rich again. A tiny something to make my spirits rise, will not hurt me any more than I have already been hurt!

I will not stop living, I will not stop hoping and I will not stop believing in God!’

That was the day I changed from a sad, depressed broken woman to a hopeful, positive one! t is not hard if you think of it, but it is a choice that has to come from within! And one, that I’d tell everyone to try at least once, and I sincerely hope they will continue to make.

I am certain that I have not found all the answers to all my worries…life brings new ones all the time! I still get semi-dragged back into a whirlpool of worry, I even let myself wallow in it for a while before charging out of it ,before I drown. Old habits die hard, you see, but defeating them is the challenge!

I have now been living in Hong Kong with my hubby and children for some years now, away from all that I wanted to escape…but it’s not foolproof! We have yet to buy that dream home…and hope to some day.

I think I’ve sheltered the children from much of the insults and pain that I took, except when I could not bear it and the dam broke. But, so far, I hope I have taught them that if shy, scared, weak person like Mum could go through all this and still survive…you can too!

So, I part with something I heard on TV recently, which was beautiful:

Gul ban kar muskurana zindagi hain
Muskura kar gham bulana zindagi hain
Jeet kar muskuraye tho kya muskuraye
Haar kar muskuraana zindagi hain!

Translated from Urdu it means:
Life is about always being like the flower
that forgets it’s sorrow and continues to live life cheerfully
It is not the smile on one’s face after one’s victories that count
But smiling even after facing defeat-that is what life is all about!

Cheers to all and much love.

INDY