Honk if you’re happy

Today I got a Starbucks coffee “tweeted” back to me,  just as soon as I had “tweeted” one to them. Sweet and a ‘latte’ fun. It was enough for me to remember not to take one moment for granted. It was one moment. And I don’t take it for granted.

Now I have watched 7842 soccer games in my career as a professional soccer mom, plus every other sport known to man that junior and senior high school girls can play.

As I dropped my daughter off to catch the team bus to travel to Saskatchewan with her University of Calgary Women’s Soccer team, the moment did not escape me – the knowing that my soccer career was slowly winding down.  This is my last of four daughters, and I was l still lucky enough to be able to watch her play.

imageThis was another moment, one of many past moments, and not one of many more in the future.

Thinking of not taking moments for granted, reminded me of a story I once read.

A man drove a stretch of highway past this tattered cardboard sign that read: “Honk if you’re happy”

Yes, a little juvenile and who would do it – such naïveté?  But as the story goes, there’s this one day when a man drives past the sign with his little girl, and on a whim, he beeps the horn.

And every day, when he passes the sign, his daughter begs him to do it again, and pretty soon, every time he’s on this stretch of highway, this jaded man is anticipating the sign and honking his horn. And he said that – …”just for a moment, I felt a little happier than I had before — as if honking the horn made me happier…If on a one-to-ten scale, I was feeling an emotional two, when I honked the horn, my happiness grew several points… In time, when I turned on to Hwy 544, I noticed that my emotional set-point would begin to rise. That entire 13.4 mile stretch began to become a place of emotional rejuvenation for me.”

So the man has got to find out who put the sign up. He finds a house on the other side of the trees that line the highway and he goes up to the door and asks the people living there if they know anything about the happy sign.

And the man at the door welcomes him in and says yes, yes, he made the sign. And this is why – Because he was sitting there everyday in his house, sitting there in a darkened bedroom with his young wife who was terminal, sitting there watching her every day, as she lay there waiting to die.

And one day when he couldn’t really take it anymore, he painted up that sign and stuck it out by the road. Because, he said, “I just wanted people in their cars not to take this moment for granted. This special, never-again-to-be-repeated moment with the ones they care for most should be savoured and they should be aware of the happiness in the moment.”

At first, after he put out the sign, there was only a honk here and there. His dying wife asked what that was about and the husband explained how he’d put the sign out there. After a few days, there was more honking and more. And the husband said that the honking became like medicine to her.

As she lay there, she heard the horns and found great comfort in knowing that she was not isolated in a dark room dying. She was part of the happiness of the world, it was literally all around her.  This  – like medicine.