One of my favorite books is “Happiness is a Serious Problem, A Human Nature Repair Guide” by Dennis Prager. If you Google the word happiness you will find 319 million articles and books on the subject. Wikipedia defines happiness this way, “a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
The Bible states in Ecclesiastes 3:12, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” Aristotle told us, “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the aim and end of human existence.” And from the Declaration of Independence we learn we have an “unalienable right” to “the pursuit of happiness.”
So what are we waiting for? Mr. Prager makes a compelling argument for happiness being a moral obligation. We owe it to our husbands, our wives, our children, our friends and our co-workers to be as happy as we can be in our daily lives. This doesn’t mean behaving in an unreal way or never expressing our true feelings to those close to us. We just need to work on our happiness.
People act more decently toward others when they are happy, according to Mr. Prager. And what about those of us who consider ourselves religious or spiritual, how are we expressing our faith? Think how important being happy is for how others see our “religion.”
Mr. Prager asked a deeply religious man a series of questions about happiness. One answer particularly struck me. The man said, “Unhappy religious people reflect poorly on their religion and their Creator.” That’s worth prayerful consideration in my opinion.
In summary, I turn to one of my favorite philosopher, Snoopy, of the Peanuts Gang. Snoopy’s Lesson #6: Happiness can be found in the little things. Know where to look.
(Written by Linda Shrake, R.N., Lead Parish Nurse. Reprinted from Breaking Bread, the newsletter of St. Peter & St. Paul Episcopal Church)