Tag Archives: family

What Is Happiness

I asked professors who teach the meaning of life what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I was trying to fool with them.
And then on Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the Displaines river
And I saw a crown of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordian.
– Carl Sandburg
{I don’t think I can add to this one. Friends, food and music aren’t the meaning of life, but they are often the key to that fleeting thing we call happiness. I love them all.}

Love is rediculous.

I have recently discovered a beautiful and wonderful new children’s book: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread. I’ve heard that the movie makes significant changes and isn’t worth watching (I haven’t seen it), but the book is definitely worth your time. If you can, get the audiobook.

This is her dedication/introduction on the first page:

“The world is dark, and light is precious.
Come closer, dear reader.
You must trust me.
I am telling you a story.”

I like this book in part because it’s beautiful, and in part because it doesn’t feel the need to avoid real unhappiness for the sake of its readers. Children have known fear and loss and disappointment too, and books are a way to help them deal with it.

The story is not a pretty one. There is violence in it. And cruelty. But stories that are not pretty have a certain value, too, I suppose. Everything, as you well know (having lived in this world long enough to have figured out a thing or two for yourself), cannot always be sweetness and light.

The central story is about a mouse (Despereaux) who loves with a human girl (in a knight-errant sort of way), and gets in trouble with the other mice for not being mouse-like enough.

Reader, you may ask this question. In fact, you must ask this question. Is it ridiculous for a very small, sickly, big-eared mouse fall in love with a beautiful princess named Pea? The answer is… Yes. Of course it’s ridiculous. Love is ridiculous. But love is also wonderful. And powerful.

Despereaux’s story is intertwined with that of a rat with a broken (and poorly mended) heart, and of a little girl who no one has ever cared about.

I’ve also read diCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” and I loved that too. There are strong themes in both about losing family and finding family – the idea that your family are the people who love you, the people who are there for you.