December 22, 2011


In Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” there is a song which begins:

          “Tell me where is fancy bread,

          Or in the heart or in the head?

          How begot, or nour-ish-ed.

          Reply. Reply.”

Fancy, of course, can refer to true love, infatuation, desire or happiness as in “It suits my fancy.” To those of us who are metaphorically challenged fancy lies in only one place — the head, the center of our thoughts and emotions. But the question is a fair one because it really asks, “What makes us happy?”

As we approach the season of giving, I vote for charitable acts. We all know the rush of good feelings that come when we find the perfect gift for a friend or family member. We grow impatient, like children, eager to see the windows of the Advent Calendar change until the day arrives when our gift is opened and we witness someone else’s joy.



What is that elusive chemistry between us humans which allows us to benefit by doing a kindness for others? And we do benefit not only because we feel good when we make a friend or loved one happy but because those feelings literally promote our well being — a gift that enriches us even as we give it away. Now that’s a miracle, we could achieve every day of the year if we chose to.