It was a lazy Sunday morning. I thought I heard a giggle and came out to the balcony to see my young daughter of five years smiling. I asked her what made her smile. She pointed out to an old and emaciated woman squatting outside the church across the road for the alms that visitors generally gave.”Yes, what about the old woman?”I asked
“Mom, don’t you see the small kitten in her hand? She is feeding her the loaf of bread she got. Isn’t it nice of her to take care of a tiny kitten?”
What I saw was a sickly old woman with shrunken face in tattered dirty clothes with a skinny cat. I could not see the love and compassion the old beggar woman had for the kitten and in her sharing the measly loaf she got with a hungry feline. It was only the dirt and sickly condition that stood out prominently for me. But my little girl was happily giggling at such a sight. I asked her “What made you smile?”
“Mom,I would love to keep the cat. We can give it milk and every food we eat. But don’t you think how sweet and kind of the beggar woman in parting with what little she had especially when I saw the other beggars drive that cat away from them. It was this that made me happy and smile at both of them.
It hit me then how different our perspectives were for the same sight. What gave me revulsion gave happiness to my little daughter. The manifestation of love shown to a neglected animal by a beggar who was herself poorer than church mouse was a matter for joy and celebration for her. Happiness is not in acquiring material things or experiencing pleasures of senses but in finding joy in ordinary incidents big or small that we come across. Happiness is seeing beyond the superficial, seeing the beauty in God’s creations, appreciating love and kindness displayed to strangers and many such more however insignificant they may be in our scale of mundane values.“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold, the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.”
While all the learning and knowledge are good possessions to have, they do not always help us experience the joy of seeing innocent love and spontaneous kindness shown to the hapless needy or rejoice at simple pleasures that nature in its beauty and bounty offers. It calls for certain awareness. To be aware is different from to know. Mere knowledge is no awareness. It was good lesson that I learnt that morning from my girl. “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.”(Mary Baker Eddy)