A New York City Taxi driver wrote:
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighbourhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives, our happiness, revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.
Various research groups, including Positive psychology, endeavor to apply the scientific method to answer questions about what “happiness” is, and how we might attain it.
Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.
John 15: 9 -17: “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
Emily Rustad · North Central MN suggests, ‘Joy is different from happiness in that the word “happy” comes from the same root word as “happen”: “hap.” “Hap” means chance or fate. The feeling of happiness comes from what happens to a person by chance, but joy is a source of delight. It is what lies underneath all emotions, no matter what happens to a person.’
- Happiness has become a goal, a possession, an object to be gained, a right to be claimed, personal and private (my happiness) – a state I come to possess and be possessed by. Usually tied to property, wellbeing, wealth, success, privacy, wellness.
- Joy is a welling up within, a reflection of mystery and surprise, a sense of belonging to all, a response to experience of being alive. Joy is breath – the essence of being – usually unaffected by property, wellbeing, wealth, success, privacy or wellness – it just is.
- Attached to love – the love that is shared around without limit – The Fathers love, the Sons love, the disciples love.
- The product of love – not emotional love – deep respect and compassion for another.
- The fountain of love – if we love with the love of God we see the potential, the hope and the dignity of every single element of creation (even snakes).
Do joy and happiness ever collide? I think so and when it doess it bubbles over into every element of life. I’ll let Fiona tell you all about it!
Go here to see the story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnYRhanK3XA