Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mommy's Project 52:8 Happiness

Chest landmarks, for radiography and other che...For many years, I lived with a feeling in my chest that I can only describe as painful.  It was right at my core, the proverbial gut, at the center of my chest.  It was a tightness, a pain, and something that never went away.  I lived with it, it was a part of me, and I didn't know any different.  It would be worse sometimes, better at others, but, it didn't go away.  I don't remember when exactly I started to feel it, but don't really remember a time without it.

As I remember it, I had this feeling all through high school and all through college.  It stayed with me after I returned home from college, getting worse while things at home fell apart before my eyes, but better as the smoke cleared and the dust settled.  I began to settle in to my new life, one which I created for myself and by myself, and which identified me as a big "A" - adult.  I had a job, a car, a cat, a place of my own, and things were humming right along.

I'll never forget the night when I first noticed that the feeling in my chest had changed.  Something was different, but I hadn't quite pinpointed it yet.  I had just bought my condo, my pride and joy, my first place of my own.  My cat was my companion, and I'd considered him when I bought the place because it had great big windows and sliding doors that opened to a fantastic balcony, and I knew he'd really love to lay in front of those doors, soaking up the sun and watching the birds pass by {read: torment him}.  I knew this was the right place for us.

That first night in the condo there was a full moon.  This big, beautiful, glowing ball up in the sky that illuminated my family room through the big sliding doors.  It was bright as day outside as we sat on the floor enjoying the breeze that gently blew in through the screen.  Realizing that we both wanted little more than to enjoy the beautiful moon, I grabbed my pillow and a blanket and laid there on the floor, my cat laying beside me.  The moon was beautiful that cool September night, and we were so fortunate to have this grand front row seat.  It was glorious.

It was then that I realized that the feeling in my chest wasn't just better or less painful, it was actually gone.  I felt nothing but freedom as I took every breath.  As I looked over at my cat, then at the moon, and the home I'd created for us, I realized that I was overcome with happiness.  For the first time, I actually felt happiness.  It was wonderful and amazing to not just feel happy, but to not feel the pain and tension that I'd carried with me all those years. 
That feeling has not returned, and I hope it never does.  Happiness is a much better feeling.  Happiness is watching the full moon on a clear night with your best buddy by your side.