Happiness Is Fleeting — and Powerful

And I’m giving thanks for that

Chris Raymond
2 min readNov 23, 2022


A table in an art studio, where two women are doing embroidery. In the foreground are threads and stitched pieces.
Photo by the author.

It was summer 2014. I was taking a week-long embroidery class at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

During the day, I sat around a large table with my fellow students, each of us working on our own pieces while sharing stories of our lives. I probably used up a month’s worth of smiles and laughs in five days.

I grew up in the suburbs, and now live and work in a large metropolitan area, single, childless, and an apartment dweller. I’ve always been known as the “serious one.”

But that week I got to make jokes that people laughed at, and hear about lives very different from mine: women with kids struggling in school; women trying to make ends meet in small towns with few employers. Women older than me, facing physical challenges I now understand all too well. Women younger than me, on a journey of discovering who they are as adults.

Every evening, another group of folks convened on the screened-in porch of one of the dorms on campus — mostly woodworkers. Beer and wine flowed as freely as the bawdy jokes and stories.

I eagerly awaited the next year’s “art camp.” More camaraderie, more jokes, more wine. But there was no “stitch and bitch” circle to join. The woodworkers were replaced by a smattering of folks uninterested in socializing.

I was sad.

Now I look back and feel gratitude for that week. If it happened every summer, it probably wouldn’t feel as special. I’ve learned to appreciate the lasting power of fleeting moments of happiness.

As Maxim Gorky once said:

Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.

May you all hold some happiness in your hands this Thanksgiving.

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Chris Raymond