"...And it was at that time that I thought about Thomas Jefferson writing that Declaration of Independence. Him saying that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I thought about how he knew to put the 'pursuit' in there, like no one can actually have happiness. We can only pursue it." Christopher Gardner, "The Pursuit of Happyness"
It so happened that after my previous post where I said that I seemed to have forgotten how to be joyful again, I went to see this movie starring Will Smith and his son. It's a movie that took me on a long journey of one misfortune after another, and all the while I was asking if the hero would ever get the break that he badly needed and even, to my mind, deserved. Happiness seemed to be too elusive for Will's character Christopher, yet the knowledge that it was a true story and the assurance that there was going to be a happy ending allowed me to stick to it until the very end.
I left the movie house counting my blessings and vowing to persevere as much as Christopher Gardner did. All my concerns appeared to be petty when compared to his trials, and yet in the end he not only survived, he defeated all the odds that were against him.
Right before going to the movies, I had early dinner with my high school barkada. I was the first one to arrive at the restaurant. I chose a table beside the window, not knowing that it would lead me to live out a scene that was straight out of the movies.
I saw walking along the street outside the restaurant window a familiar face, but one I had not seen for a decade and a half. I knew it was him and I took a moment to hesitate before going out the door and calling out his name. He stopped, trying to find out who called him, then continued walking. I called out his name again, and this time I stepped on the sidewalk so he could see me.
He turned around and broke into a smile when he saw me. He walked, I walked, and when we were within hearing distance, we started talking at the same time. Then we laughed. I asked him where he was going, and he said he worked in the next building, and he mentioned the name of a law office. I said, "Oh, you're a lawyer now?" He said, "Yes, you too, right?" After a few minutes of talking we both realized we were standing on the street, so I invited him into the restaurant, where I left my purse, wallet, and important documents in my mad rush to catch him.
Did you ever see that "Friends" episode where Ross finally entered Rachel's childhood bedroom, and even if at that time, they had already hooked up and then broken up several times, Ross still couldn't get over the fact that he was in "Rachel Greene's room"? He had a huge crush on her in high school and referred to her using her full name, and he kept saying, "I can't believe I'm in Rachel Greene's room"? That's how I felt.
Let's call my friend-from-the-street Ross Geller. He was my biggest crush in high school. I had to say biggest because I had a new crush every quarter, but this guy, he lasted one schoolyear. He was my first dance in our J-S Prom! So when he sat down on the seat opposite mine in that dimly-lit restaurant, I wanted to pinch myself out of disbelief that Ross Geller was with me, after years of wondering about him, and we were actually talking.
Then I noticed The Ring - how could I not, when it gleamed and seemed to signal "THE END" to all my daydreams about Ross Geller? I hoped my reaction did not show. Somewhere between talking about our common friends and him telling me that he was so out of touch until the time we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, I managed to ask how many children he had, and he said, "I have a 2- year old daughter".
The guy who introduced me to "Desiderata", who walked me home for almost 10 months, he became a lawyer, and not a doctor as he planned before, and he had a 2-year old daughter. And he was right there breathing the same air, and I had to think about other topics. So we talked about work and business, and I learned that our block's reviewers made it to his law school where they were being sold on CD-ROM format. People made a killing out of our hard work. He said he noticed all my side comments and obiter dicta in the reviewers that I edited. He also knew that I no longer lived in Pureza. He knew that I was a court attorney before, and he said he wondered which court I worked at. For someone not in touch with our batch, he sure remembered little details about me, my bruised ego whispered.
"How come you're not yet married, Laura?" I stared at my ringless finger and just laughed. What could I say? Because you're all married or otherwise simply unavailable! That's what I wanted to say. It was so nice to see him, but he had to run because he was going to have dinner with his wife. Of course! Good thing my best friends arrived and we reminisced a bit about high school, and they teased me to death about how much I liked Ross back then.
I couldn't help thinking how far we had all gone since high school, and how far we had yet to go.
"Maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue. And maybe we can actually never have it no matter what." Christopher Gardner
Christopher's life proved his theory, quoted above, wrong, as he was able to find happiness at the end of the movie, after blood, sweat and tears - literally. He pursued his dream and he eventually reached it.
I don't regret calling Ross Geller's name tonight, even if he turned out to be married. At our age, everyone's married, my friend texted me after I shared my little telenovela moment. Everyone except us, I texted her back. Anyway, marriage and happiness don't always go together, based on what I've heard. So it's happiness I pursue, and not necessarily marriage. The pursuit is as important as the destination.
I have already offered my state of life to the LORD, and if in the end it's just Him and me, then so be it. I know I could still be happy with that, as long as I know that out of His great love, it's His will for me. Happyness and joy, well if not in this life completely, then for sure in eternal life, those would be the order of the day, everyday.