Archive for December, 2009

Golden Age

Christmas Greeting
At one time, I imagined happiness as a land that extended to the horizon in every direction.

If only the right combination of true love, ample money and robust health would come together at once, I would be transported to a state in which, no matter where I looked, my view of happiness would be unimpeded.

That experience remained stubbornly elusive. As time passed and it began to look as if it might be my lot to travel through the world without a wife or children, I began rethinking happiness.

Perhaps, I thought, happiness was something that existed only in small packets of time. When something particularly satisfying came along — a passage in a book, a good laugh with friends, an autumn tree in just the right light — I did my best to pay attention and savor the moment.

Now that Garnet and Sparkle Girl and Doobins are in my life, I am experiencing a more durable type of happiness. In one direction, a sense of contentment does indeed extend to the horizon.

When I look in other directions, though, a sense of unease appears.

Work is uncertain.

Dementia is clawing at my mother. When I watched pulmonary fibrosis take my father, I thought, “Please, God, don’t make me leave this world by that path.” Now, as I watch my mother struggle, I think, “I’m not sure which is the worse way to go.”

His Dogness, at 17-plus years of age, is having a rough go of it, too. His hearing is mostly gone, and his eyesight is not far behind. He is agitated much of the time. His kidneys are failing, and the toxins left in his system by those failing kidneys may be the cause of the dementia that has him scratching at the door to get out of the house seconds after coming back in.

When I become angry, knowing that it’s not his fault only makes me feel worse.

Sometimes, I think it’s a shame that happiness can’t extend to the horizon in every direction.

Other times, the abiding sense of contentment that Garnet, Sparkle Girl and Doobins bring is more than enough to make me feel as if I am living in a Golden Age.

And, for that, I am grateful.