Happiness isn’t happiness without a violin playing goat.
I was reminded of Chagall as I watched, yet again, Notting Hill this afternoon. Art is so often fascinating, in the way that books and poetry can be. How one person perceives it may be completely different to another persons way. But let me give three of the possibilities in understanding which come to my mind when I look upon Chagall’s work.
Maybe the artist is conveying that happiness is an impossibility, that it doesn’t exist.
Maybe he is mocking people’s views of the world. Maybe what he really means is that we need to stop clinging onto impossible thoughts, and to learn to live with what we have. To stop waiting for violin playing goats and open our eyes to all the beauty that does exist. To learn to live with the many gifts we do have in this world. And to be happy. To love them, to be content with the world in which we live. Because if we spend our life waiting, we can never truly be happy. Maybe what we really need to do is see what does exist, and the love and happiness which we can find around us, without upsetting ourselves with the non-existence of things not yet of this world. Maybe they will come before we pass, maybe they won’t. Maybe they are heavenly hopes which we must wait to find. And so perhaps what Chagall is really saying is, love and happiness are all around you… stop hurting yourself with fantasies.
But maybe that’s not right either. Perhaps Chagall is really saying that love is impossible. Not in a non-existent way, but rather in the sense that no-one can ever truly understand it. Rather then, that anything is possible with love. Love is complicated. Love comes in so many forms. And many people don’t experience love in the way that you do. Types of love and happiness may seem impossible to one person, but completely natural to another. Happiness and love are personal, and only one who knows themselves can percieve love in their own way. And yet love is that which brings and unites people together, even in differences, to join as one body, as brothers and sisters. Maybe then what Chagall is really saying is, do not be afraid of love’s endless possibilities. Embrace it. Love is something that every now and then makes you stop for a moment. You look at your life, and you ask yourself… is this Real? Is this love and happiness Real? It coats you, fills you with a blissful, blessed sensation like no other, and causes you to ask yourself if you are dreaming, for life is so beautiful in these moments it is like living in another world. Living in the clouds, filled with heavenly joy, standing next to the musical goats.
As Julia Roberts says, it feels like how love should be. Floating through a dark blue sky. And maybe the sentence happiness isn’t happiness without a violin-playing goat, is simply a way of saying, love doesn’t make any sense a lot of the time. And yet it fills every happy moment, every true ‘presence’, every moment of expressive living.
So live in love, and live in happiness. Not in the way that people tell you to, not how society’s social rules tell you to. Don’t conform, but rather live in the way that you feel is right. Listen to your heart. Be open – Ephathatha. And be happy.