"Once, when I was very unhappy, Hugh and I had to go to a large cocktail party. There was nothing I wanted to do less than get dressed up and have to radiate charm to swarms of people. But we went, and I tried. There was a woman at the party who very quickly had too much to drink because she was lost; she had been widowed; she had not been able to find a new life which was valuable, or in which she felt she had any value. She talked to me and cried into her drink and suddenly she said, 'You're a very happy person, aren't you?'
I had, at that point, legitimate reason to be miserable. But her question stopped me in my tracks. I looked at her in surprise and gratitude and said, 'Yes. I am.'
This was ten years ago. But the answer is still the same. The better word, of course, is joy, because it doesn't have anything to do with pain, physical or spiritual. I have been wholly in joy when I have been in pain- childbirth is the obvious example. Joy is what has made the pain bearable and, in the end, creative rather than destructive.
To be fifty-one in the world of today and to be able to say, 'I am a happy person,' may seem irresponsible. But it is not. It is what keeps me capable of making a response. I do not understand it, or need to.
Meanwhile, I am grateful."
Yes. Just... yes.