Koontz cites two key childhood experiences that later influenced his horror novel writing.
First, he was regularly beaten and abused by his alcoholic sociopath father.
Second, he recalls the courage of his physically diminutive mother who bravely stood up to her husband and put an end to that abuse.
It’s no surprise, then, that he made the following observation in one of his interviews:
To surrender to despair is to hand victory to the abusive person who made your life hell. But if you’re just happy, you’ve defeated the person who wronged you.
He proves that living well truly the best revenge. And that abusive people loathe nothing more seeing us flourishing despite their continued cruelty.
The tricky part is the happiness piece. Which, as we learn when we enter the real world, is not easy for everyone. Nor is it properly defined by everyone.
My mentor, a former baseball player turned educator and preacher, once told me that happiness is incidental, not intentional. Happiness is not the target, he said, it’s the reward we get for hitting it.
Because any idiot can hitch a ride on the passing clouds of imaginary pleasure and achieve fleeting satisfaction quickly, easily and inexpensively.
Cinnabon proves this every time we go to the airport. Sweet, angelic, immaculate confections. Their rich, buttery brilliance conjures the divine.
But if temporary bliss is our sole pursuit, then our emotional life may be in danger. Because if we are not focused on living with a purpose and honoring our cherished values, then we leave ourselves open to the whims, wills and ways of the world. There will always be something to complain about. And we will continually blame and resent other people for influencing our mood.
On the other hand, if we nominate ourselves as the makers of our own meaning, the arbiters of our own fulfillment, the purposeful crafters of our own principled life, then happiness will not be far behind.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you ever questioned whether you had the option to be happy?
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