Sunday, 29 October 2017
Are You Happy?
Are you happy? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being mildly happy and 10 being ecstatic with excitement and joy; where are you right now?
Humour me and just right down a number on a piece of paper.
You see, happiness is not a binary YES/NO switch whereby we are happy or not. It is relative to a point in time, and a situation in time.
We may be young and healthy, or middle-aged, or getting old and suffering the ailments brought on by age. We may be fit in mind and body, or we may be ill with many pains and forebodings. We may be in a good well-paid job, or just about managing, or unemployed.
There are many aspects that affect our scale of happiness at any given point in time in our lives. And indeed the scale is not just 1 to 10 but it could be at 0 or indeed a minus number up to -10 when we are downright miserable and in despair.
An elderly man I know, suffering from many ailments in life, whenever I contact him to check on his health he says: "there are many people worse off than me!" This is a laudable and generous attitude to have but it would not help a sick person if you told them there are others worse off than them.
When we are ill, or suffer other difficulty like unemployment or bankruptcy or marriage breakdown, our main focus in life is on ourselves. Quite naturally. The fact that there is someone else somewhere in the universe worse off does not lessen one's pain; and the fact that we are all in the same boat does not bring much consolation. Misery does not like company, I find.
So when we are in a bad place in life, and our happiness scale is sliding down perhaps into the minus figures, what do we do then? Where is our God on Whom we profess we rely?
Personally, I believe He is still there, caring and loving us as He has ever done. The fact that we are in negative figures perhaps, does not mean that He has turned away or is busy with someone else's problems. As best we can, through gritted teeth even, we should turn to Him in prayer and ask for His help; and being patient in awaiting His response. The fact that we are still praying, despite perhaps our diminishing faith, proves that we believe that there is Someone out there somewhere listening to us. Our faith is strengthened in such situations rather than diminished.
A few years back, whilst sitting on a bus, two ladies sitting behind me were chatting loudly. I was miserable about something or other. One woman behind me said to the other, "We should count our blessings, shouldn't we?"
Prompted by the conversation behind me, I started to count my blessings, and pretty soon ran out of fingers and toes on which to count.
So, let me ask you again. On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you right now? Is the figure different from the one you wrote earlier? Why?