This picture was taken on a trip to Asheville, NC several years ago. The Grove Park Inn Hotel is a fabulous place to visit and this was one of the stones used in their gigantic (floor to ceiling) fireplaces. Indeed, Wikipedia describes them thus: “Upon entrance, is the Great Hall which measures 120 feet across and features 24-foot ceilings and two gigantic 14-foot stone fireplaces and the resort’s grand lobby is famous for the elevators hidden in the chimneys of the fireplaces, which transport guests to their rooms.”
The trip was taken with a dear friend at the time and upon going through pictures from that trip, I was struck with a sense of bitter-sweetness at seeing this particular photo. You see, my friend and I parted ways not too long after the trip and not in an amicable way. There are times when I really miss him. We were very close. It got me to thinking about friendships and how they run the gamut between temporary and long-lasting. We never really know what kind of friendship it will be until time passes and the nature of it reveals itself. There is a poem called “Reason, Season or Lifetime” which talks about the nature of how/why people come into and out of your life. This is a post which explores that poem in greater depth and there is a lot of truth in it.
As for happiness, I think true happiness is a fleeting, elusive thing. Like friendship, it can sometimes surprise us with both its intensity and its transience. Contentment is different than happiness, in my opinion. Intricately tied together, perhaps, but different beasts. Can a person be happy without being content? Content without being happy? It’s been said that the key to happiness is acceptance and I would add that it’s a necessary ingredient for contentment, too. Life happens in moments, and those moments can shift suddenly.
Anyway, my point of this post is that like the stone above reveals, there are roses and thorns, and they are counterpoints to each other. Enjoy and cherish the friendships you have, while you have them, for they very well may not be around tomorrow, next week, next year. Enjoy true happiness while you have it – for the same reasons. If you are content, and that’s enough for you, then be content and let tomorrow take care of itself. Savor happiness when you find it (or when it finds you). And of course, take time to stop and smell the roses. Even if you get pricked by a thorn or two, the scent and sight are worth it! 🙂