Thursday, October 09, 2008

Happiness is ..part 2

Happiness is having many things to choose from each minute of the day … and making the right choices!!.

Last post I talked about finding happiness and peace –no matter what our circumstances are. This is something God promises to Christians as they turn control over to Him and become centered not on the things of this world but on His gifts of love, hope and relationship.

We were visiting Chris and family in the Chicago area last weekend and I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune about Dr. Martin Seligman who is promoting a (relatively) new concept of positive psychology and has a website titled “Authentic Happiness”.

An excerpt from his website states “His research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances”.
This should not be news to Christians because it is uncannily similar to the promises we find in the New Testament about what we can experience when we place our hope in Jesus. It appears that, through studies, he has shown that Jesus was right when he said “having food & raiment” we can be content and that happiness doesn’t come from possessions. (treasures on earth).

Now we could debate whether there is a conflict between my claim that this ability to experience authentic happiness is part of God’s gift to Christians and Dr. Seligman’s assertion that it is something psychologists can teach to anyone (through a process called “positive psychology intervention”) and perhaps I will come back to this another time. Suffice it to say that for me these type of study results strengthen my faith that God was behind what Jesus taught.

However, no matter the foundation upon which you build your conviction that “Be Light hearted and happy” is a fundamental principle to living meaningful, peace filled lives – I think we all realize it is not always easy to experience this on a day-to-day basis.

And that one of the things that continually fights against my ability to live in the “peace that passes understanding” is my tendency to become over committed.

I’m there again (overcommitted that is)—

Last week, a long time friend of the family and Christian lady Phyliss Wright passed away and we attended the visitation and funeral. She was the daughter of Nelson and Annie Bailey. Her grandmother Edith Bailey (nee Cann) was my grandmother’s sister – let’s see I guess that makes us 2nd cousins. Annie (her mother) was a Hotchkiss and one of 3 Hotchkiss siblings that married 3 Bailey siblings. These were large families so there were many nephews, nieces and cousins at the funeral many of whom are part of the church families that grew out of our grandparents roots in North Livingston (now Thessalon) church of Christ.

During the week, Linda was also recovering from 2 weeks of having a bad cough (cold) and my Dad became ill with a cold (we hope these weren't connected but it is possible). Anyhow, we needed to spend extra time with him. As a result I was unable to get back to help with the building project and I won’t be there again this week. However, work has been progressing and the shingling is now complete.

In addition, as mentioned, we took the last weekend off to go visit Chris, Tammye , Hunter & Camdyn. Putting everything else aside to make that visit was part of living by the rule of not letting urgent things crowd out important things and what, in this world, could be more important than sharing life with your children and grandchildren.

Chris usually has a project lined up for us to do and this time I helped him replace the storm door going out to the deck. It is good working with him —I have become better at doing things together – although I still get a little “bossy” and "impatient" with others– just ask Linda about that.

We also had some great time sharing at the kitchen table, time at the park tossing a football and a special time with Hunter doing the same thing in the back yard, a special time with Camdyn Saturday evening with Hunter was at a sleepover and Chris & Tammye were out to a wedding reception.
We also had a family visit to Catigny on Sunday afternoon. (this is a real great place within 20 minutes of Chris’ place) and is where the pictures were taken)
Following is an excerpt from their website:
Cantigny: Robert R. McCormick's Gift to the People of Illinois

Located in Wheaton, Ill., this sprawling, 500-acre park is where families wander through nature, get lost in history, play golf at an award-winning
course, attend a big band concert, tag monarch butterflies, make a snow globe, take classes, introduce children to the age-old custom of afternoon tea, attend a wide variety of special programs and events --in short, spend quality time together. In addition to vast formal gardens and picnic and camping grounds, Cantigny offers two history-rich museums: the Robert R. McCormick Museum and the Cantigny First Division Museum, fascinating for children and researchers alike.

Bottom line is that after the unexpected things that cropped up last week and then taking 4 days off means that I am backlogged on some of the other projects and commitments I mentioned in the last post. This means I have had to “re-prioritize” and some of the things that are important have had to take aback seat while I focus on the most urgent items -- and other less important things(like blogging and facebook need to be set aside – well reduced anyhow – complete withdrawal can be dangerous to my sense of peace and well-being :) :)

I keep saying that I want to do a review of "The Shack". That seems to be more distant now than it was before. John Mark Hicks has written a series of posts giving his views on the Shack which I have skimmed and will need to put into the background until I have do my own review – if you are interested you can find the first of the series by clicking HERE

Well I need to get at the important things that are waiting for me (It was rainy yesterday when I started this – it is a bright, crisp, sunny fall day today --- and it is my birthday. Just another day in the 23375 (give or take a day or 2) that I have lived so far. Today I have lived (if I did the math correctly) .004% more days than yesterday – that surely is something to celebrate!!)

God Bless