There is so much that is so good around us. And there is so much that is beautiful. The human heart is in a sense very easily satisfied. A beautiful afternoon, a blade of grass, an 8 yr old girl sharing without shame about how she struggles to smile because of her funny looking teeth. The moments in which you have the clarity to “smell the smells” so to speak, are precious and beautiful indeed.
Where it’s not from
I don’t think it’s about wealth. Having it OR lacking it. It matters nothing to human happiness. But if I was to judge on this factor alone, my travels around the world would conclude this easily: the poorest people are the happiest people. The more you have the more you have to care about losing. Though many poor people are just as unhappy because they are jealous of the rich. They want what they don’t have or can’t get.
It’s not even perhaps about having health or not having it. My observations of the disease and death prone 3rd world contexts would indicate that physical health is not a key factor as thought by a culture that idolises it (and greatly fears not having it) and yet contains the healthiest population of human beings to ever exist.
Not having or doing, but ‘being’
But perhaps it has to do with being present in the moment. And to be in deep and meaningful relationships. And so it has to do with not being distracted by a thousand flashing and noisy things vying for our attention. It has to do with not being distanced and disabled by fears of the future or regrets of the past. And not paralysed by a fear of what people may think or see in you.
Most of what makes us unhappy as human beings are not real in the sense that it is us wanting what we don’t have, or worrying about what has not come to pass or regretting what we cannot change.
The beauty of what Jesus teaches, besides other things, is that it enables a human being to simply ‘be’. “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.” “Give us this day our daily bread.” And the seemingly contradictory statement: “lose your life and you will find it.” His teachings enable a person to love with vulnerability: “forgive a person 70 x 7 times”
And in that ‘being’ there is then an ability to see, to smell, to taste, to laugh, to smile and to cry, to engage, to be silly, to love, to dance and to mourn. To be truly alive. To be in relationship, in fullness of vulnerability and acceptance. In that ‘being’ there is also an ability to not take yourself so seriously. To be human involves a fullness of being present. And Jesus seems to know the way.
Humility is such a key factor in bringing about this ‘being’ and vice versa. In some ways it lies at the foundation of being able to ‘be’. Certainly it is foundational for healthy relationships in which there is acceptance and vulnerability. Perhaps I’ll try to expand more on this in a later post.
1. Redefining humility
2. The Freedom and Purpose found in Humility