Happiness is just being alive and well

Wednesday I delivered two programs for employees at the Veterans Administration.  This was the eve of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, and signs up and down the hallways at the center reminded people of a memorial service to be held the next morning.
During lunch and after the program I got to mingle with a number of disabled veterans who were hanging around the recreation hall where we held the programs.  Mostly it was older men in wheelchairs or using canes to get around, slowly.  They just wanted to chat, and a fresh face like mine meant they could tell some of their stories to a new audience!  I just listened…
At the end of the day, after the staff departed and I was left to pack up my stuff, the old guys returned to reclaim their rec hall.  I chatted with a couple of them as I shut down the sound system and stowed my laptop.  I noticed a group of young kids jostling down the hall, and a couple of them spun off and into the hall.  They started moving some chairs around, and I assumed they must be maintenance guys coming in to tear down and reset the room for the next event.
Then, I notice that one of them was missing an arm.
And another carried a significant limp — he was walking on a prosthesis.
I looked again.  These guys were young.  VERY young, by my standards.  Younger than a couple of my own kids.  They were also veterans, here to use the hall.  They were just rearranging the chairs to clear some space near the pool tables.
In that moment, I felt awash in a number of powerful, and wildly different, emotions:
Gratitude for their service (Iraq War veterans).
Sadness for their injuries.
Anger at a system of world government that uses young children to fight old men’s battles.
Hope for their future (they were just being goofy guys… no more, no less)
Happiness for my own health and for the well being and safety of my family.
Don’t just think about it.  FEEL it.  Today, take some Happiness from the fact that you are alive and well and have all your faculties about you, and you can feel safe in your own home.

2 thoughts on “Happiness is just being alive and well”

  1. Lisa, it is ALWAYS about the Emotional Stew. I think that’s why it’s sometimes so hard to pin down a feeling and say, “I’m having THIS emotion…” because it’s almost always several attacking me simultaneously! J


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