It is tough to meet a person who has not heard Pharrell William’s recent song “Happy.” Debuting on Billboard 100 in January of 2014, “Happy” took the well-trod path of hit songs. It quickly climbed to the top of the charts. Radio stations began to play it on a non-stop loop. Many people became sick of the song, and found it as another occasion to declare their hatred for music these days. Critics pointed to its simplistic lyrics and repetitive nature.
And for a time, I thought these critics may be right, but then, finally, these 6 months later, I look past the overplayed days, past all of the critics, and listen to my own response to the music. And I declare, this is a good song. Not because of any poetry. Not because of any instrumental skilled displayed. But, because it does exactly what it was created to do. It makes me, the listener, feel happy.
I think the song became so big, because so many people felt the same way about the song, and just wanted something to be happy about. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the duties of the day. To look at any news program, and get lost in all of the destruction in the world. We can forget that we have been gifted this life. We have been gifted family and friends, beauty and love, and things as simple as laughter.
Sometimes, we just need that excuse to be happy, and to recall the gifts that we have been given in this life. The thought of welcoming excuses for happiness reminded of something I read this month in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, (and, yes, I know. I am about to connect Pharrell Williams to a vampire hunter.) Stoker uses his character Van Helsing to say some beautiful words on laughter — laughter in spite of sorrow. While the main characters are dealing with the loss of a loved one Van Helsing defends laughter, for he will not defend himself against “King Laugh.” King Laugh does not ask for your permission to come into your heart. He declares himself, “Here I am!” We must let him in, because
“It is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles. And yet when King Laugh come, he make them all dance to the tune he play…King Laugh, he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again, and we bear to go on with our labor.”
Listen to these words of wisdom that are given to us by both a singer and a vampire hunter. Allow yourself to experience happiness. Do not deny entrance to King Laugh. Those moments of joviality are graced gifts. Often we wait to accept the big gifts from God, and find ourselves waiting a long time, looking past our everyday. If we but look, we can find chances to accept those simple, ordinary gifts that lift our hearts. Even in something as simple as rolling down the windows, turning up the radio, and car-dancing to a silly, fun song that just makes you feel “happy.”