As I clean the living room, sweeping with optimistic energetic vigor with my American-style broom, my eyes cannot help but oscillate from left to right, almost with every passing second. I am really missing the effect of a solid Naija broom. Nevertheless, I take full pride in my pretty huge puppy dog eyes that never ever seem to miss even a speck of dust while cleaning. These eyes of mine seem to have the unmistakable power to ravage the entire confines of any room I choose to clean, seeking what it may devour, never missing a thing. As I sweep, I smile, knowing my satisfaction will come when I am done. And when I am done, I am saturated with the knowledge that I did not dare miss a speck of dust. I evolve as a perfectionist standing at the center of a once not-so-perfect room. It usually makes me happy and complete...they say cleanliness is next to Godliness, although I am confident that this phrase was never in the bible, neither was it written in any long forgotten dusty scroll. But the feeling of refreshing comes with the feeling of cleanliness...
So is it with a speck of happiness. Life is a wonderland filled with mysteries, like the hidden confines and contours of a room. You just never know where some dust will fill a little crack on the ground. So also, you just never know where you will find a speck of happiness. But look, we must. Yes, me must. We must sweep the entire earth with our eyes and heart, and we must look for the various specks of happiness lying in figments all around.
No matter how crazy the circumstance, there's always happiness lying somewhere to be grasped. I've shared many times about how giving of oneself is more joyful than receiving sometimes. A man may have nothing and still give himself to the world. How? In a comforting smile, in a reassuring glance, in a hug...in a post. It's no wonder why sometimes we can look at the intricate details of a country torn in war, and amidst the war cries we still find tears of joy and shouts of victory. In Nigeria for instance, the people are still climbing an economical ladder and fighting a battle for change in corruption of their leadership. Yet, amidst the poverty of bread and gala hawkers, you still find them gisting in the middle of traffic, cracking their dry jokes and laughing loudly, like happiness was indeed their God-given right. Are they right or what? Meanwhile some rich people cannot sleep in the same country because of constant worry of the night raiders watching them closely. And so these ones choose sadness over happiness...
A woman working in the Balleyara area of Niger, albeit the poorest country in the world (check out yesterday's poverty post) had this to say after she extended her two-year contract of sponsoring garden projects for the women and children of Niger: "Nigeriens are happy, and when I am there I am happy too. I don't understand all of the reasons why, but people in Niger really enjoy their lives, enjoy each other's company, and spend most of their time feeling good, even though they live in a harsh climate and staggering poverty. I like it. I like the happiness that rubs off on me."
Yesterday, as I read my copy of Half of a Yellow Sun, I read the following excerpt, written in the context of a pitiful Biafran war. "Olanna was not sure if he began to laugh first or if she did, but suddenly they were laughing, raucously, almost falling off the bench. Other things became hilarious. Odenigbo said that the sky was completely cloudless and Olanna told him that it was a perfect weather for bomber planes, and they laughed. A little boy walking past wearing a pair of shorts with large holes that showed his dry-skinned buttocks greeted them and they had hardly responded good afternoon before they burst into more laughter."
It amazed me that they could even laugh in a time when they feared for their lives. But in life we may have fear sometimes, but it should not rule our lives. Fear is not of God, and love does not yield fear. So we must rise up to the occasion and find happiness and laughter in the mishaps of failure and craziness. Little things should make you smile. If you lock your key in your car, smile because you had the money to buy a car. If there's no real food in the fridge, smile because there's a pot of indomie noodles on the stove. If your parents don't understand, smile because God said He will never leave you nor forsake you. If something made you mad yesterday, smile because something will make you laugh today. If you truly desire something right now, smile because you have other things and you know it's only a matter of time.
For me, I find specks of happiness here and there because of my relationship with God. Because I know He's always there...just like I know specks of dust are always lurking around somewhere in the room wherein I sweep...
"Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? That our barns may be full, supplying all kinds of produce; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; that our oxen may be well laden; that there be no breaking in or going out; that there be no outcry in our streets. Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!" Psalm 144: 3, 13-15
Photo credits: Emeka Okereke and photobucket.
Photo credits: Emeka Okereke and photobucket.