Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness. . .

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. —

This seeking. . .this pursuit of Happiness mentioned above in America’s Declaration of Independence, is given as an unalienable right from God. . . to look for happiness.

That being said, it is nowhere given as a right to attain happiness. Every man, to the best of their ability seeks to find happiness and most if asked would be able to point out the location of happiness on the map of their life. They are on a journey to. . . in the pursuit of happiness, but very very few ever arrive.

Happiness never seems to be a long distance away. It is perpetually only over the next hill or around the next corner. . . a mere few more miles of life’s road, and we will arrive. With that expectation every day we open our eyes, and as a child on a long automobile trip, we inquire. . .”Are we there yet?” Only to find another detour. . . another breakdown. . . another missed turn or another stretch of road construction ahead of us. Maybe our optimism a little diminished, but again perpetually having faith that it is only a little while longer until we arrive.

Occasionally we pass what we think to be a final milestone on our journey. The sign by the roadside reads, “Entering Happiness”, but it’s such a small place in the road. We were expecting a metropolis of great size that would take us years or at the very least months to explore and to appreciate. The reality is that the tiny village of happiness, is most always only a flashing yellow light at a crossroads in the wilderness of life’s journey. It is passed through before it is even recognized and appreciated and we think to ourselves. . . “that cannot be. . . there must be more to Happiness than that. . .”

I look back upon my life, receding into the misty distance of long gone by years are peak after peak where I thought happiness would be found. . .If only I had a job. . . If only I were out of High School. . .If only I made more money. . .If only I had a girlfriend. . . If only I were married. . . If only we had a baby. . . If only the baby would sleep all night. . . If only the child were toilet trained. . . If only we had a house. . . If only we had a bigger and nicer house. . . and on and on and on. . .

As each new destination was attained. . . as each new goal reached, happiness was found. . . for a very short season and then some unforeseen circumstance or new goal or problem would arise and I was again in the wilderness of discontent. . . seeking happiness all over again.

If you set out on a journey and you find that you are unhappy with your destination. You cannot blame the destination. . . You can’t blame the road that took you there. . .and you cannot blame the vehicle you rode in. What it is possible to blame is the map you used when you set out on your journey.

You were looking for the land of peace and joy and happiness and that’s what the map you bought said you were traveling to, but the reality of the land was something other than what it was labeled. The map was entirely wrong. . . happiness is in another direction from what you have been traveling your entire life. . .

Everything we are taught about happiness, by the world we live in is a lie. A new car will bring no lasting happiness. Neither will a fat bank account bring you to that land. None of these things bring long term satisfaction. The rich work long long hours to acquire ever more wealth. It is never enough. Nothing in the physical world will take you to long term happiness. . .

The map you need to the land of happiness, will show it right were you are at, coming from within you. . . no physical journey is required. This land is not found from any external destination, but comes entirely from your relationship with God.

I preach to the men and women in the jail, that unbelievably they have everything they require for happiness right were they are. Everything that can be taken from you, cannot be a permanent source of happiness. Money, health, relationships, children, houses, jobs. . . to depend upon any of these for your happiness, is building upon sand.

The rock upon which I build, cannot. . . will not ever move or change. No man can take my relationship with God from me. That is impossible. That gives me power. My happiness is not dependant upon my wife’s mood. . . or the arbitrary decisions of a prison guard. . . or my children or my job. . . To say that these things have no effect upon me would be foolish. Yes, I am effected when things in my life go wrong. . .BUT!!! only for a short time. Until once again I can regain my perspective and realize that my source of happiness is deeper than any external event.

I receive letters of joy and happiness and power from men who in all likelihood will never see the outside of a prison in their natural life. To every external viewer they would have nothing to live for. . .nothing to bring them joy or satisfaction, but they have their relationship with God and nothing can take that from them. The are behind grey walls of concrete and iron and barbed wire fences, but in their hearts they soar as free flying eagles above the clouds of earthly despair. . .

For them, happiness lay in a completely unlooked for direction. . . and it is the same for all of us. Understand that the map you have been given to happiness is a lie. . . Change the direction of your seeking. . . The land of great happiness is closer than you would ever imagine. . .

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