Immersed in contemplation, I eagerly remove the gnarled, wet roots. As my thoughts drew closer to the tenuous yet vigorous spring beneath them, a word intersected my search like an intense beam of light. Harmony. I felt as if the tips of my thoughts had reached the source of the experience I was trying to decipher—happiness.
Before happiness there was harmony. Harmony with one’s thoughts. With the secret counsels of conscience. The harmony that comes from knowing that our steps are in God’s footsteps. From the trust with which we continue on this path. The harmony between what we set out to do and what we achieve. The harmony of the glances between loved ones who communicate without words. The harmony that survives and dispels the random dissonances of life. Harmony as the canvas on which the colours of contentment and happiness are found in their entirety.
Contentment usually takes the form of a quiet, sometimes even introverted harmony. However, it is neither difficult nor wrong to imagine it as exuberant or energetic. Happiness, on the other hand, is born of a vivacious harmony, like the blush of windblown cheeks. But it’s neither impossible nor unexpected that it can be found in a wide, calm smile and a radiant gaze. Between these infinitely nuanced portraits, from the exuberant to the contemplative, from radiant splendour to the soft warmth of dawn, harmony is the essential backdrop.
I return as often as I can to breathe in the bliss of mountain valleys or ridges, admiring the perfection with which nature blends its imperfections, and knowing that harmony is what makes these paintings masterpieces. I rise happily from my knees, knowing that without the harmony of the heart with God’s revealed will, life would be a tumult of trials, ambitions, losses and successes, followed by doubts, second-guessings and regrets. I take my family in my arms and realise that the happiness that this embrace brings to life would not be possible without the harmony that we continue to cultivate with joy, even when weariness demands that we give up.
I admire a work of art and feel how its harmony becomes a bridge between the creator and the spectator, a path along which the message can travel and fulfil its purpose. I see how harmony never tires of serving happiness in the appearance of a plate on the table, in the bouquet of flowers at the window, in the intention and meaning of words spoken at the right time, in the perfect grasp of two completely different hands, in the comforting music in moments of straying, in the providence of God whose gleam lives in the mirror of faith.
That is why I do not believe that happiness has retreated to inaccessible or elitist places, as in poems or songs that describe our shortcomings rather than its flaws. Happiness does not allow itself to be seen any more rarely than we are able to see harmony and a smile of satisfaction or happiness.