Sunday, January 01, 2006

happy is a yuppie word

i think the word happy is a weak word. wishing someone a 'happy new year' is a lot of pressure when you think about it. happiness can be so fleeting and random. joy is so much deeper and richer. happy means circumstances must all go 'my way' and feeling deep emotions will keep me from my goal, if it is indeed happiness.

i even struggle with the wording in the declaration of independence:
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 personally feel that the pursuit of contentment would be a much better goal. i wonder if it's having the goal and pursuit 'happiness' that brings so much ruin and disappointment to so many lives? is happiness really ever truly in our grasp? is it ever anything we truly have control over? how much less debt, depression and frustration might come if we changed our goal of happiness to something like joy, contentment and/or peace?

i even struggle with some translations of the beatitudes. 'happy are those who mourn'... really? that kind of translation smacks of delusion and rubs me the wrong way - it makes jesus sound like a sadist - like he's clueless and can't grasp how much mourning really sucks.

blessed is even a weak word. i've packed my library, so i can't quote it verbatim, but larry crabb, in the safest place on earth speaks of that word being 'an island of calm' - a place of safety where others are drawn to - i like that.

i think that's what i wish us all this year - that we can become 'islands of calm' in the sea of our communities - we can be the people that are stable and solid that others are drawn to. so, yes, may you find times of happiness this year, but may your new year be much, much more than just happy!

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