There was a cardboard sign with these words, "Honk if you're happy" painted on it. The sign was posted on a stretch of a Canadian Highway. A cynical man who saw that sign on a regular basis, started to honk when he passed the sign. He first honked because of a certain little girl in the seat next to him. Then . . . he just started honking whether she was present or not because he found that when he honked, his happiness increased, if just but a little.
Ironic, don't you think? That if he was not happy, the honking could actually bring happiness on?
The driver was curious so he found a house, knocked, and asked the man at the door if he knew anything about that cardboard sign.
The man, one who sat next to his terminal wife, day in and day out, each day bringing her closer to death, knew the origins of the sign.
He painted that sign and nailed it to a tree.
He wanted a bit of light in the darkness. It was a gift to his dying wife. The honks from the highway could be heard by wife as she lay in bed.
Those honks, brought light . . . happiness to her . . . and to him.
Why did that sign mean so much to him?
"I just wanted people in their cars not to take this moment for granted. This special, never-again-to-be-repeated moment with the ones they care for the most should be savored and they should be aware of the happiness in the moment."
Is he too counting without realizing it? Is he too counting all of those little gifts that mean so much?
People have found it necessary to point out all the good in my life. It is frustrating but I do understand why they do it. Even though the good doesn't always take away the pain, I understand.
I don't need a highlighter ran across my blessings from another. I am hyper-aware of all the blessings in my life.
I am more aware now then I ever was before.
And it makes me wonder: How can gratitude be birthed from deep grief and searing pain?
I know bitterness exists. I know there are bitter people in this world. But I also know that there is always a choice.
I believe that it is innate when we have lost huge, that we notice all those small, wonderful moments that consume memory, that the wonderfulness of them birth big.
For me, I have become hyper-aware of all the good, of all those small moments that consume me large. I am hyper-aware and I feel a profound weight and I have to share.
Even in the midst of loss, of deep pain, of darkness, there are always blessings waiting to be found and taken notice of. There is always a little string of light waiting for an eye to open.
And so, like the cardboard-painting-sign-man, I want to honk. I want to paint my words that cause others to take pause and take notice, that life is full of moments and those moments are what memories are born from.
I count. I started counting after my loss. It was reflexive. Even if I would have never read the words on her blog or read the words in her book, I would have taken notice.
And so I am counting . . .
19. Sweatshirts all old and frayed
32. Skilled hands
40. Friends who travel in the snow to visit
73. The "big part" of a grocery cart
80. Tiny shirts hanging to dry
88. Little girl rocking in little rocking chair
90. Slippers for cold feet