Don’t look now, but this is a "real" blog entry. By "real" I mean one that is fresh, not a re-run from the parenting columns I wrote seven to ten years ago. (Can it really have been up to 10 years ago that I wrote them? Wow.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about bliss lately. Sometimes when I’m writing a card for a newly wed couple I like to say something like, "Best wishes on the road to wedded bliss." But what I’m really thinking is, Hold on! Keep one eye closed, and the other half shut. And other encouraging and realistic thoughts.
But just lately, I’ve found myself acknowledging that I really have found bliss. The paperback Webster’s dictionary that we use when playing boggle defines bliss as a noun meaning great happiness or spiritual joy. That sounds about right. But what it doesn’t say, and what it’s taken me so long to figure out is that bliss is not a destination. Got that? Bliss is not a destination.
You don’t wake up one morning to discover that your home is perfectly decorated, your children are near-perfect, your husband has overcome all his little quirks that have been niggling at you for the past 14 years. No, bliss isn’t any of that. Instead, bliss is found in perfect moments.
What, you ask, is a perfect moment? I’d like to share a few I’ve experienced lately.
Bliss is being in the kitchen and hearing Beans and her friend out in the backyard through the open window. They’re giggling in the pink princess tent that Beans has set up out there, and apparently something is so funny that Beans snorts while she laughs. Listening to happy children, that is bliss.
I know it’s going to sound hokey, but I’ve had moments of bliss while walking the dog. I’m not sure how much of it is because I’m walking Annie, and how much of it is being out in the wonders of creation. I think it has to be a bit of both. This morning, for instance, I was walking home from a quick visit at my mom and dad’s with the dog. As we got to the bottom of their street and were crossing the road, a shiny blue Mustang passed us. Although I have a fondness for fast cars, I found myself thinking, "If I had to choose between Annie and a new Mustang, I’d choose Annie." And remember, I love muscle cars. But apparently I love my dog more. I finished out the rest of my walk in bliss – realizing that I possess one of life’s great pleasures – a beloved dog.
Now back to the wonders of creation. Walking, even short walks around the block, give me a lift if only because of the beauty that’s right outside my door. Today it was a pair of Orioles streaking past. Although they’re done blooming now, the smell of Russian Olive trees in June always lifts my spirits. Ditto colorful sunsets. And drops of dew hanging from overgrown grass.
This past Friday our family attended a dinner at my husband’s work. All the tables in the shade were taken, so we sat in the sun. I noticed that my kids didn’t take much of the main dishes (Mexican fare), and that made me happy. It was gratifying to know that it’s not just my Mexican cooking that they don’t like. Oh, and dessert was individual-sized containers of Aggie ice cream. Eating Aggie ice cream is bliss. Watching your kids eat it is bliss. Sharing bites with your family, that’s bliss too.
As the capstone of the evening, my husband’s employer gave out passes for either mini-golf, bowling, swimming or a movie. We chose the movie and all went to Fantastic 4 – Rise of the Silver Surfer. And, you guessed it, bliss again. Not that the movie was ultra-great, but watching it together as a family was great. Sharing a common experience with kids and parents, one that we all enjoyed, that’s bliss. Kids not complaining that they’re bored – that’s bliss.
I guess you could say that bliss has caught me by surprise. I expected something with a little more fanfare. Maybe something more along the lines of winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. You know, Big Stuff. But that’s not bliss. And if it were, how many people would ever get to experience bliss? Only a few.
Fortunately bliss is an equal opportunity experience. Everyone can have it. We just have to recognize it as the small, sweet, perfect little moments that we live.