07 June 2015

How Happy Can A Person Actually Get?

How Happy Can A Person Actually Get?

Several years ago, I actually got to witness the answer to this question. My wife and I drove to Juno Beach, Florida to visit her brother and his family at their beach house. We lived in Orlando so it was only a 2 1/2 hour drive down, and we made it a long weekend. 

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I love the ocean, I love the beach, but I don't like actually going to the beach, sitting in the sand, swimming in the ocean, and laying in the sun. I'm more like the guy sitting in the air conditioned ocean front tiki bar having a drink and a burger and watching from a distance. 

But on this particular day, they all talked me into going beachfront for a little bit. So there I sat, under the umbrella, in the blazing sun just counting the minutes until I could bail out of the expedition and head back to air conditioned comfort. Then something caught my ear. There were very few people at the beach since this is the private section of Juno Beach and it's or residents only ... so the sounds stood out. 

What caught my ear, was this penetrating laughter of a young man who was sitting right on the line where the waves would come crashing in ... splashing him. Each time the wave came in, he screamed with pleasure and delight. It was obvious just by observation, that he was a young man with disabilities. His parents were there with their other kids and keeping a close watch on him to be sure he was safe ... and safe he was. Safe in the arms of ecstasy. Bam ... another wave and another ear piercing scream of joy and immeasurable happiness. He would throw his hands up in the air and it nearly brought tears to my eyes. 

My emotions ran wild because at that moment I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had never experienced such a level of sheer bliss and excitement as this child splashing in the waves. He was at maximum thrill level. In those few moments, he was experiencing more incredible joy that I had ever imagined was possible. I realized that day, that it can actually happen. 

What a wake up call for all of us who consider ourselves "normal." Well, I hope that one day, I can experience his normal ... even if just for a few moments. It was exhilarating and I hope that all of us can witness it within ourselves at some time in our life here. Total, absolute, bliss. God bless him.

Just a thought ... 

~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.