Search This Blog

Monday, August 6, 2012

On Happiness

At some point in our lives we all have to ask ourselves a couple questions.  The first among them is, “what kind of person do I want to be?”  Some of us want to be like our parents… some don’t.  Some of us want to live a life of optimism and love, while some people have resigned themselves to living a life of cynicism and apathy.  Some want to do great things and change the world, whereas others desire only to serve people in small ways and stay in the background.
After this, the next question we must ask is, “what kind of person am I now”?  The disparity between these two can be either discouraging or depressing.  Some people, despising how their parents raised them or the type of people their parents were, spend their whole lives trying to become the opposite, only to realize eventually that, at some level, we all must become like our parents.  Some people can’t even ask this question… rather than working at trying to be happy and fear not being so, they instead resign themselves to depressing lives of cynicism and sadness.  Do some of us even know the type of people we want to be? Or are we too scared to ask for fear of realizing how far we’ve strayed from our ideals?
I want to live a holy, Christian, masculine life.  I want to serve God in everything I do.  I want to be a good father and a good husband, and I want to be able to lay down my life for my family if ever I need to do so.  I want to be courageous, and be able to go off to war if that is what my country needs.  I want to have a fierce heart.  But most of all… I want to be happy.
Happiness seems a sort of paradox.  It’s something that every single human person wants (on some level), but very few of us have.  Here’s the funny part… everything that a human person would naturally think brings them true happiness never really does.  It’s definitely not money, most rich people actually aren’t happy just because they’re rich.  Many of them actually find out money has taken from them everything that otherwise would have been important to them (a marriage, a sense of purpose).  It’s not even family or “making a difference”.  Many people are happy without a family, and many people who make a difference in the world feel empty after their great accomplishment.  Where then do they turn when they feel they’ve fulfilled the purpose of their life and still live twenty or thirty years?
What it all comes down to is that happiness is not attainable without God in your life.  Atheists might claim they are happy.  But it’s a superficial, bodily type of happiness.  At some point in their life they will realize that reason alone, that sex, that money, that even a happy marriage, at some level have left them feeling empty.  As C.S. Lewis states (roughly), “If I find myself with a desire that nothing in the world can satisfy, the most likely explanation is that I was made for a different world”.  Without God, you will always feel empty.
That’s not to say Christian’s don’t feel moments of emptiness… of desolation, of abandonment, of fear, of uncertainty.  It does mean, however, that they have a consistent foundation on which they can stand, to which they can look, when their world starts to shake and crumble around them.  Christianity and God allows a person to know where they need to go, and provides them tools to get there.  It is easy to see why people without such a worldview so often become cynical of the world around them.
                Who are you, and where do you want to be?  Are you happy?  If not, how are you going to get there?

No comments: