“The days that make us happy make us wise.”—-John Masefield
when I first read this line by England’s Poet Laureate, it startled me. What did Masefield mean? Without thinking about it much, I had always assumed that the opposite was true. But his sober assurance was arresting. I could not forget it.
Finally, I seemed to grasp his meaning and realized that here was a profound observation. The wisdom that happiness makes possible lies in clear perception, not fogged by anxiety nor dimmed by despair and boredom, and without the blind spots caused by fear.
Active happiness—not mere satisfaction or contentment —often comes suddenly, like an April shower or the unfolding of a bud. Then you discover what kind of wisdom has accompanied it. The grass is greener; bird songs are sweeter; the shortcomings of your friends are more understandable and more forgivable. Happiness is like a pair of eyeglasses correcting your spiritual vision.
Nor are the insights of happiness limited to what is near around you. Unhappy, with your thoughts turned in upon your emotional woes, your vision is cut short as though by a wall. Happy, the wall crumbles.
The long vista is there for the seeing. The ground at your feet, the world about you—-people, thoughts, emotions, pressures—are now fitted into the larger scene. Everything assumes a fairer proportion. And here is the beginning of wisdom.