I will never forget my first school outing. We went to line the road for Queen Elizabeth II's state visit to Iran. The streets of Tehran were filled with schoolchildren waving British and Iranian flags. The motorcade passed us slowly. We could see the queen very clearly, smiling and waving to us.
I thought she was beautiful. Her radiant smile filled me with love.
Now, many years later, I live in the UK, and my homeland is frequently in the news. I celebrate democracy and freedom in the UK, but even today I miss my country.
I miss Tehran with the snow-filled mountain peaks around the city. Every summer we would go to the mountains, where the air was fresh and the weather cooler. In my sleep I still visit the gardens where we used to stay. I walk down the streets of Tehran in my mind's eye. One day I will be able to visit again.
There was a day I felt so homesick for my country, language, and literature and the people who are so warm and hospitable. I wondered what it might have been like had I been able to return after finishing my education to have lived there as an adult. I never knew my culture beyond the four walls of our home while I was growing up.
It was our Persian New Year. I was driving home after dropping off my children at school, and I had just heard the New Year commemoration begin on my car radio, which was picking up a Persian broadcast.
The tears that poured down my face surprised me; I was so happy with my life and our children and my husband's love. I went home to an empty house. I reached out for my spiritual companion, a book called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy for answers, and I came across this passage: "Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more" (pg. 3).
I sat still and listened to the broadcast and longed for my homeland. What was it about my mother tongue that I missed so much? It spelled love to me comfort and happiness. Well, what was it I didn't have? I loved my children and my husband. They had given me so much love and happiness. I had kind neighbors and loving friends. What difference did it make if they didn't speak my mother tongue? What they gave me still spelled love. Love. Of course. Where had I been I all this time? Here was love, and I had an infinite amount of it. If I just stopped shutting myself off from it, I would be able to see it.
I suddenly realized that the language of love was universal. It was all around me. I hadn't missed out on a single thing. I was happier now than I had ever been in my life. I had freedom of speech and movement. I'd never had it back home. I looked around me and saw everything in the vibrant colors of love. Here were people who had worked hard to make a free society. I was accepted among them with such love, as if I were one of them. I suddenly recognized: This is my place and my home where I was loved and accepted.
In Iran it is always sunny. The people are sunny also, and they laugh a lot. I'd found the British reserved and serious. And I suddenly that realized my view of them reflected what I'd been thinking.
Maybe what life was asking of me was different from the responses I was trained to give to it. Like a surfer ready to catch a wave, I didn't have to sit and procrastinate or postpone my happiness. I could enjoy what came my way right where I was. And here I had plenty to enjoy and be thankful for things I'd not appreciated before.
Happiness is not a dependency; it is a decision. I didn't actually need anything to be happy. It wasn't something that came from outside but from inside. When I radiated this happiness, I was amazed what it attracted into my life.
Happy is that people,
whose God is the Lord.