I find happiness peeking up from the most simple places on the homestead these days. There is happiness in the near-ripe tomatoes I find on the tomato plants that seem to have taken forever to grow and produce. Happiness in the strong, green new stalks on the olallieberry vines. Happiness in the feel of the wind and sunshine on my bare arms as I hang the wash out to dry on the morning's breeze.
My friend in the coma finally passed, one day before her 55th birthday. I think she lingered in the coma for a week to give her family and everyone else who loved her time to come to terms with her passing.
A couple of years ago, she and I had a frank talk about her upcoming death. She told me (she was a registered nurse and therefore had some medical-level knowledge about her condition) that it would be "an event" that led to her passing, not the slow lingering of a hospice death. In a way, she was correct. She fell into a coma rapidly, just an hour or so after feeling fine, fixing herself a meal and settling into her apartment for a night of quiet TV watching. And one week later, she was gone.
When I think about what she valued, it was the simple things, and it's what allowed her to be happy despite living with essentially a death sentence. She loved nature, she loved people, and she loved God. Although her life was relatively short and far from perfect, she always seemed to be able to find joy in the simple things of life. Not the drama, debauchery, or angst this world is so known for. She was about as far from those things as anyone could get.
In honoring her memory, I am trying to do the same, and to live more mindfully. Too often around here the chores can just be chores, instead of opportunities to mindfully appreciate all that's been placed here for our enjoyment. Too many times, I complain about the heat instead of being thankful for the small breeze. Or I focus on one unpleasant customer at the winery instead of rejoicing in the hundreds who come in and enrich our day with their lively stories, interesting ideas, or funny jokes.
Today, and for as many days after this as I can manage it, I'm going to try and be more conscious of the simple happiness that surrounds almost all of us, if we only have the eyes to see them.