Contrasts: In Search of Happiness

This essay made its first appearance in 2010 on This Southern Gal’s View of the World when blogger Linda Apple asked me to write a guest post while we were still cruising in Mexico. Wednesday morning, I received a worried query from friend and critique partner Robin Patchen. Did I have something I could send for her group blog? Immediately? As in right then? Which, of course, led me to my writing folder.

Now, making its second appearance in the blogging world, “Contrasts” is up at Quid Pro Quills.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll read there, along with some fun pictures from along the way:

SV in the Rocks at PA
Anchored in Mexico


Sipping an espresso on New York’s Upper East Side at an elegant sidewalk restaurant, I felt worlds away from the trash-strewn streets of the garment district through which I’d passed that morning. I had the same experience when I visited cities in Jordan years ago, and then later in Lebanon. I remember rolling rice into a ball as I ate from a plate of mansuf at the home of middle-class Jordanians. We were mere kilometers from the King’s palace, where riches slipped through jeweled fingers instead of outward to alleviate that nation’s poverty and the squalor of the refugee camps.

me in Jordan
In a Jordanian church 1969

The rich of New York or Amman inhabit the same city as the poor, and the poor like it not. “The poor you will always have with you,” Jesus said. Which I suppose means that we’ll always have the rich with us as well.

The assumption seems to be that the rich fare better than their poorer brethren. But I’m not all that convinced that the rich neighbors in New York or Amman bask in the sublime either. There’s never quite enough, is there? Never quite enough money or things or good times or love. For either group. So, who lives in the greatest poverty?

Read the rest by clicking here.

Mexican workers
Mexican workers

2 Replies to “Contrasts: In Search of Happiness”

  1. “So, who lives in the greatest poverty?” This question led me on and forward throughout the day crossing my thoughts.
    This morning I am thinking I might change my response nearly everyday or every hour, and that I might ask this question in various circumstances. At the moment, I am thinking of the teachers in Portland, Oregon who will receive no paycheck and 2800 of the 3000 will go on strike on February 20th; their school board has been taken over by very conservative, short sighted thinkers. I cannot still my thoughts as they move to thinking about the 103 earthquakes in Oklahoma in the past few days, which appear to be apart of the polluting of the ground water via fracking, and yet we remain addicted to oil…

    As you may well see, I can barely move on from your question but read on I must. Thank you for getting my thinking worked up to arriving at a happy thought and action
    Patricia recently posted..BECALMED: Romance Fiction ~Normandie FischerMy Profile

    1. Patricia, thank you for stopping by and sharing some of your thoughts. You’re absolutely right about that being an open-ended question, one that depends on the day, the experience, the need, the fear, the object… But it’s one we need to consider, don’t you think? Especially if we’re to find some level of contentment in the midst of disasters and confusion. For me, it has to do with hanging on to faith, with finding joy in the small things (or the big things), with seeing it as a choice.

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