I recently read an article about the problem of happiness. The article seemed to say that, as Christians, we aren’t supposed to be happy people; we are supposed to be holy people; we do not pursue happiness, we pursue holiness. Happiness is a drug that we are all addicted to and we would do anything, including take it from our friends, to get our hands on more of it. My need for happiness puts me at opposition with the rest of humankind and their constant struggle for happiness. This is all bad, so the article suggests instead that we forget about happiness and be addicted to holiness. Jesus wasn’t happy on the cross, but he was holy. Let’s all be more like that.
Alright, so that is the main idea of the article (maybe a little unfair of a summary, you can read it at the bottom if you want). Not so long ago I would have read this article and thought, “Absolutely, we have way too much happy and not enough holy!” Today I don’t think that at all though. There certainly are times when happiness can be selfish, but I think when most of us think of the happiest moments of our lives, we aren’t the only people smiling. Happiness is truest when it is shared, which means my happiness isn’t at odds with yours. But let’s move onto the bigger point here. What does God want? I really don’t know what God wants, but I have a hard time imaging God’s intentions for us are to suffer through a lifetime of holiness to see if we pass. All holy and no happy if you will. Instead, it could be that God wants us to be holy as well as happy. Perhaps the two can go together rather than be seen as opposites. It seems to me that God wants us to be holy in the sense that God wants us to live out God’s plan for us and the world. In doing that we will find happiness. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but it seems true to me. I’ll break it down a bit. Living out God’s plan to me means being a blessing to the world. It means loving people, serving people, hugging people, giving and sacrificing and laughing and crying. It means love really. Oddly enough, it seems that in love we might find happiness as well. The moments of life that we cherish most are the ones most filled with love.
Now of course there is happiness that comes from other places, like eating ice cream (or adultery to get to the level of the article that inspired all this). While I do love eating ice cream and it does make me happy, I think we all know the difference between the two types of happiness. Regardless of what type of happiness we are talking about though, happiness and holiness do not have to be at odds with each other. It feels like the church is preaching that God does not want us to be happy, because then we wouldn’t be holy. We can be happy and broken and trying our best to love people, and that might just equate to holy enough for God.
“ There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. ”
Billy Connolly (via ethandesu)
measure the time not in minutes or hours, but in how full my bellybutton is of sweat
never fasten more than one button on my shirts
“There is nothing so cruel in the world as the desolation of having nothing to hope for.” Murakami – wind-up bird chronicle
This comes from a novel about the impossibility of knowing someone and the continual failures of trying to. Murakami, so good and so hopeless.