Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Tuesday with Happiness

I am one of those people who make a point to make, at least, one stranger happy or contented every day. For us, it’s uplifting because we feel like we have passed the goodness and happiness others have given us to another – “Pay It Forward” concept.

On Tuesday, me and my friend agreed to meet up for coffee after work. Knowing his scope of responsibilities, I wonder if he realized it’s a mammoth ambition for him but I didn’t let doubts short live this overdue ‘meeting’. As expected, he’s been ‘held up in a meeting’ and that means I have to wait, if I want to, he said, or we’ll meet some other time. I told him I’ll wait since I’m already at our meeting place. Instead of feeling rather disappointed, I was jubilated – thanks to him, I am going to spend some great time free-reading at this huge bookstore!

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up” ~ Mark Twain

But first, I need to go to the ladies to dry my brolly. There, I saw one auntie – she’s the cleaner there – staring at the floor. She looked up at me, drying my brolly with tissues and said, “Adik pakai dryer lagi cepat kering (it will dry faster if I use the hand dryer)”. “Takpe ke Auntie? (Is it OK Auntie)?”. “Boleh, diaorang jarang guna dryer, selalu guna tisu. Buka payung, kasi dia kering (Sure you can, they seldom use the dryer and prefer to use tissues instead. Open up your brolly and let it dry)”.

For the world to know, I am stingy and very sentimental with things I have. My brolly’s age is around 6 years now and it decided not to open up swiftly as one of the ribs got stuck (Newton’s Law at work it seemed). She pointed out that that I just need to sew at a place where I could see threads dangling out, “Tak payah beli baru (No need to buy a new one)”, she said. After a good 5-minute under the dryer, my brolly was perfectly dry and all those time, Auntie was standing next to me – looking intensely, in case I missed a spot. As I expressed my appreciation and bid her goodbye, she said,”Sama sama, datang lagi (You’re welcome, come again)”.

As I opened the door, my heart detected a warm glow – it’s not from the dryer, it came from Auntie’s wrinkly smiling eyes that shone with the light of satisfaction making one of her ‘customers’ happy; and not forgetting from her contented heart for having made herself useful to me – the lucky one.

Tears in my eyes gathered around as I wondered how many time we stop for awhile and take note of people around us and how many time we allow people to rise up to the occasion, to feel wanted, be counted and useful. Our lives would definitely be much easier with their help and these people don’t even want to be repaid for their kindness because doing good makes us feel good - a gift God grants us with a sense of contentment that this life is worth living and giving. For me, that alone defines my happiness.

“If you want to be happy, be” ~ Leo Tolstoy

It’s time for me to glow – I got my hand on Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith and there’s one with the absence of its wrapper. Yippie (Read:Free-reading)! A poignant true story that made me smiling gleefully and sent sobs down my throat.

This true-story touches issues that we ask ourselves sometimes like how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; the comfort of finding something to believe in; and the importance of faith in trying times. I love the way Mitch Albom tries to share with us we are after all humans – no matter who we are to the society.

This book is so easy to read I finished half of the book by the time the clock struck ten past 8. With that book safely tucked in my bag, I walked down to the agreed venue – a kopitiam (since I’m not a supporter of those usual cafes some people hang around leisurely).

With some more time to kill (yes, I told him I’ll wait for him), I spent time watching the shoppers – some with their kids tagging along, some power walked to the gym upstairs, some couple holding hands up the escalator, a father kissed his life girl in the pram, an old couple walking down slowly but most walked in and out of the shops buying things. I wondered, again, if these people are happy because some did those things that seemed enjoyable but how come their body language told me otherwise?

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet” ~ James Openheim

It’s amazing to find myself feeling at peace – despite the hiccups. Maybe I was living this mantra – “Good things come to those who wait”. At last, we talked, instead of just saying “Hi” about 2 months ago at one public forum. It’s comforting to know that 18 solid years of not talking to each other haven’t made us strangers. Time flew so fast and that place was about to close for the day. It’s time to say goodbye. He said we should catch up more often and apologised for talking too much (definitely not his fault since I asked him about so many things).

That’s my Tuesday with happiness. A day that shows me that happiness is a chain of reactions – we are happy because we want to be one and our happiness is not something for us to keep but to share and pass along to the next person. We are happy not because we have what others have. We are simply happy because those people are happy. My friend told me that “Happiness is relative” and I am glad to see him THAT happy.

Let me close my happy thoughts with Rabbi Albert L. Lewis words to his congregation, he taped months before his demise: -

“So friends, with great thanks, I beseech you, to please love one another, talk to one another, don't let trivialities and stupidities dissolve friendships. I wish you well, and I hope and pray that God, who does exist, will grant you all health, creativity, and a feeling of immortality, if you live that way”.

And not forgetting a song I like to share with you – “Anyone at All” by Carole King, taken from one of my favourite movies, “You’ve Got Mail”.

Funny how i feel more myself with you
Than anybody else that i ever knew
I hear it in your voice, see it in your face
You've become the mem'ry i can't erase

You could have been anyone at all
A stranger fallen out of the blue
I'm so glad it was you

Words can hurt you if you let them
People say them and forget them
Words can promise,words can lie
But your words make me feel like i can fly

You could have been anyone at all
The net that catches me when i fall
I'm so glad it was you
You could have been anyone at all
I'm so glad it was you


dochisyam said...

Salam Fi-sha
I read your entry with great interest.
I'm happy with your happy Tuesday event but somehow I sense a little bit of sadness in the story.
Hmm I guess I read it the wrong way?
Anyway, please take good care of yourself.
PS: Another trip to the book store to complete the's a wonderful read

Antares said...

So amazingly sensitive, such limpid and vivid feelings, a truly sweet heart and soul you are :-)

Fi-sha said...

Hi Mr H

Thanks for dropping by. I'm nursing a bad case of the birth of my wisdom tooth. Can I see you doc? :)

Sad? It's the kind of sadness one may experience when they cry at their own wedding or watching a beautiful ending of a feel-good movie.

But, yea, I happen to cry when i'm the happiest because i tend to ask God what have i done to deserve such happiness.

And Mr H, no, you didn't read it wrongly - you just read it deeply.

Dear Antares

I wish I am one... Merci!

zorro said...

Second nature to you to make others happy and typical of you....shedding a tear. Keep well sayang.

Uncle Lee said...

Hello Fi-Shah, yes, give a smile to a stranger or a friend or a office might be the only Sunshine he or she sees whole day.
As well a smile tells people you are home.
Have a pleasant weekend, Lee.