I love Audra McDonald’s rendition of the song “Make Someone Happy” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC-FnYytCtU&feature=kp ):
“It’s so important to make someone happy.
Make just one someone happy.
Make just one heart to heart you, you sing to
One smile that cheers you.
One face that lights when it nears you.
One girl your – your everything to
Fame, if you win it,
Comes and goes in a minutes
Where’s the real stuff in life, to cling to?
Love is the answer.
Someone to love is the answer.
Once you’ve found her,
Build your world around her.
Make someone happy.
Make just one someone happy.
And you will be happy too.”
…But I think that if the condition for making someone happy is that you are unhappy then there is something terribly wrong. It is also something very “unnatural” if someone requires that you mistreat them (or your being mistreated), in order for them to be happy. I told one of my students (who is an extremely dynamic and brilliant young Lady) that she is both “worthy” and “deserving” of everything that is good in life. Set high standards for how you choose to treat others, and also how you choose to be treated. Forget for a moment the question: “What’s in your wallet”; another question that I posed to a friend recently was: “Who among your friends and family is truly committed to your personal happiness”. I think that most of us (as I believe she did) will overstate the number. We might overstate the number because people may view our happiness from the point of view of what makes them and not us, happy. Only you can award yourself: “Best Life in the world Award”; you make this award not out of selfishness, but rather because your life is the only one you have to live. I thought this morning: what if we were the writers and film directors of our own lives. How would we write the script, what story (theme, message) would we want to covey, how would we direct ourselves and the other actors in our life story? Last night, I watched a room full of people who (as a profession) play other people. I thought, what happens when they are forced to play themselves? And who are we playing, everyday? And if we are playing a “character” (not us); who is (where is) playing our true selves? I remember reading (and being shaken by what I read) somewhere that “Altruism” in the extreme is really the fear of intimacy. This was surely not the case with Nelson Mandela, for I found the most moving and memorable sections of his biography, was his poetic letters to (his wife at the time of his incarceration), Winnie Mandela. They read like a Shakespearian love sonnet, and they are! I guess In the end, revolutionaries are poets, and poets can be revolutionaries; and so it is fitting that I borrow a powerful phrase lifted from a poem ( September 1, 1939) by W. H. Auden:
“…For the error bred in the bone Of each woman and each man Craves what it cannot have, Not universal love But to be loved alone.”
The Dylan Thomas poem: If I Were Tickled by the Rub of Love
“If I were tickled by the rub of love,
A rooking girl who stole me for her side,
Broke through her straws, breaking my bandaged string,
If the red tickle as the cattle calve
Still set to scratch a laughter from my lung,
I would not fear the apple nor the flood
Nor the bad blood of spring…”
Your service will make someone(s) happy, but your service and someone should make you happy too…..