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Monday, October 24, 2005

what will make us happy?

are you happy? think about that one for a second. has anyone asked you that recently? do you stop on a daily basis and ask yourself this question...am i happy? i don't. but isn't this what our lives revolve around? even our country's founding document has the word happiness as an "unalienable right."
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
i remember something my dad said to me shortly after i became a christian in my teens and i told him that i was going to become a pastor. his answer (and i'm pretty sure my dad was not a christian at the time--dad, if you are reading this, you can comment otherwise) was one that my dad gave us kids numerous times when we talked with him about decisions we had made or were thinking of making. "whatever makes you happy."

so what is happiness and what will provide it for us? money? sex? the perfect family? how many people do you know are truly happy? why is depression so prevalent in our society? if any of these things actually provided happiness, americans should be the happiest people on the planet. the truth, however, is that we are just as depressed as the rest of the world...maybe more so.

i'm really curious for feedback here. is happiness even achievable? is it a fleeting emotion that comes and goes with various circumstances? is it something we should really be consuming our lives with? what makes you happy?

**the symbol at the top is the chinese character for happiness. Taken from here. **

7 Comments:

At 8:40 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Good question Ryan. I am reminded of a comment I read by C.S. Lewis last night, talking about how happiness is found in friendships, relationships. I was going to post the quote separately, but since you've asked such a closely connected question, I'll just place it here instead...

-------------
Nothing brought Lewis more enjoyment than sitting around a fire with a group of close friends engaged in good discussion, or taking long walks with them in the English countryside. "My happiest hours," Lewis wrote, "are spent with three or four old friends in old clothes tramping together and putting up in small pubs - or else sitting up till the small hours in someone's college rooms, talking nonsense, poetry, theology, metaphysics over beer, tea, and pipes. There's no sound I like better than ... laughter" ... "Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life, If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I should say, 'sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near friends.'

-Nicholi, C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, p115.

 
At 4:52 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Dan McGowan said...

Didn't I comment on this earlier? Didn't like my comments???

 
At 4:55 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger rs said...

Where at? Which post does mine resemble? Am I posting blatantly redundant material already???

 
At 6:56 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

I haven't seen any comments by you on this one DandyKat - we definitely didn't delete anything. So did you have some thoughts you want to share? We'd love to hear them...

 
At 9:12 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

Christian....thanks so much for you and your family giving us a wonderful (and much needed) Lewisesque evening at your home this past Sunday!

 
At 10:01 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Dan McGowan said...

You know - perhaps I only thought of deep and amazing thoughts in my head but never jotted them down... or I jotted them down and then forgot to submit them...

bummer...

in a nutshell, I was commenting on the reality that happiness is far different from joy and contentment - two topics the Bible actually speaks about. I think happiness is so fleeting and fragile... I can be amazingly and delightfully happy and then, within 10 seconds, fall into a tearful depression... thus, I have a difficult time judging happiness.

However - true contentment is something we can attain (so the saying goes) and from contentment flows joy! And from joy (in the Lord) comes our strength to continue... regardless of how happy we might be at one particular moment...

okay, that was a larger nutshell than I expected to submit...

And now, I'm not happy about it!

:)

 
At 10:21 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger rs said...

Thanks Dandy Kat! I've been finding my senior moments comming now and then too! LOL.

I like what you are saying because I think what you are getting at, that is brought out in the book that Christian keeps referring to, is that worldview is a big factor in our happiness and joy. Happiness becomes less important if you are coming at life with a biblical worldview.

 

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