Friday, March 09, 2007

True Happiness

Is it true? The more we get, the more we want? Are we ever satisfied with where we are in life? Or is it a constant quest to find true happiness? What is true happiness? Some say it’s finding the perfect love – our ‘soul mate’. Others claim it’s finding stability in career and money and to be able to establish great wealth. There are people who believe that having great faith in God is true happiness. Many will say that finding love within family and friends is what makes life.

But, what if you don’t have all of these at once? If the person who gains wealth doesn’t have their ‘soul mate’, will they ever be happy? And if a person finds they don’t have many friends or loved ones, will getting rich substitute for it all?

Recently, I heard “a certain someone” say that their neighbor has a nicer house than they do. "This person" who said this has a gorgeous home. It’s filled with love, beautiful things they obtained over the years and quite a few luxury items. But, their neighbor has acquired many more luxury items in their home, plus it’s bigger than theirs. I was quite surprised to hear “this person” go on about other people’s wealth. When I looked around “this person’s” home, I even caught the ‘I want more’ bug too. I said to myself, “Wow, it would be nice to have a great kitchen like this! Look at the island in the middle of the kitchen they have to chop and prepare food on! Wow – look at this living room! I can’t believe the size of this hot tub! Check out the beautiful dining room – I could have so many people over for dinner! Whoa – a two car garage?”

I stopped myself. I recalled a passage from Ecclesiastes.

Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth—except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers! People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich are always worrying and seldom get a good night’s sleep. (Ecc. 5:10-12)

“The person” I speak of works their butt off. They’ve worked for many years and had a great life full of love, family, and most of all, faith in God. They’re fortunate in not only material things – but also the bond that comes from a close-knit family. Their house is full of laughter, relatives, friends, good food and wine. I looked over at this person and said, “You know, I’ve been to the other house. It’s cold and uncomfortable. It lacks the love and contentment that I feel whenever I walk into your home. Your home has warmth. Even the pictures on your wall give me a sense of “home” – it brings back memories. The other house has contemporary art hanging on its walls. It doesn’t have warm photos or paintings that bring a sense of love and ease. It shows dollar signs and brags about its whereabouts.”

“Thank you.” This person said, as I tried to show them how lucky they are.

Then I looked at my own life and realized how lucky I was. I felt confident knowing that my faith in God is huge. I don’t feel alone and scared when I pray and know God’s right there. I feel fortunate that I found love and friendship. Even if I won the lottery, I’d be lost without my family, friends and loved ones. It would be a dark and lonely wealthy world if love didn't reside in my home.

There are three things that will endure—faith, hope and love—and the greatest of these is love. ~1 Corinthians 13:13