In the morning, at half-past five, Thomas goes to his window and looks outside. Very often, in summer, he sees birds flying from tree to tree, stirring their friends awake. When the weather is chill, the life outside isn’t so obvious, but Thomas knows that it’s there, for when he blows on the window with a puff of air, the fogged-up glass spreads into a funny shape and makes Thomas laugh like a child.
The reason Thomas laughs is simple to understand, if you have a child’s heart. For all children know that funny shapes on a window can turn into the most fantastic creatures when no one is looking. Once, when he was small, Thomas blew a puff of air that made a shape just like a bat—and Thomas was sure he heard the flap of wings and a tiny high-pitched shriek a moment after he’d turned his head.
Anyway, the point of me telling you all of this is just that I want you to see how training yourself to think a certain way—a way that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary—is a mechanism by which the most sensitive souls keep themselves alive in the bleaker times.
If you can begin your day by stirring up the signs of life, or recalling something that makes you laugh, you have armored yourself with a sturdy defense against the threats of habit and humdrum that otherwise tempt you into feelings of despair.
It is not hard to recover a sense of meaning in life if you loosen the grip of formal thought and let your spirit find joy in the little things.