What truly matters in life?

A couple of years ago, I came across a poem by Alfred D’Souza entitled “Happiness”.  I became intrigued by the words and the correlation to our faith in Christ.  To be honest, I don’t know anything about him and his belief system.  Yet, his poem inspired me.  The following is my perspective on what truly matters in life (utilizing excerpts from D’Souza’s poem) and how it relates to my faith in Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

We convince ourselves that life will be better once we are married, have a baby, then another.  Then we get frustrated because our children are not old enough, and that all will be well when they are older.  Then we are frustrated because they reach adolescence and we must deal with them.  Surely, we’ll be happier when they grow out of the teen years.

We tell ourselves our life will be better when our spouse gets his/her act together, when we have a nicer car, when we can take a vacation, when we finally retire.  The truth is that there is no better time to be happy then right now…IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

Your life will always be full of challenges.  It is better to admit as much and to decide to be happy in spite of it all.  For the longest time it seemed that life was about to start.  REAL LIFE.  But there was always some obstacle along the way, an ordeal to get through, some work to be finished, some time to be given, a bill to be paid.  Then life would start.  I finally came to understand that those obstacles were life.  That point of view helped me to see that there isn’t any road to happiness…HAPPINESS IS THE ROAD!

So enjoy every moment.  Stop waiting for school to end, for a return to school, to lose ten pounds, to gain ten pounds, for work to begin, to get married, for Friday evening, for Sunday morning, waiting for a new car, for your mortgage to be paid off, for spring, for summer, for fall, for winter, for the 1st or the 15th of the month, for your song to be played on the radio, to die, to be reborn…before deciding to be happy.

Happiness is a voyage, not a destination.  There is no better time to be happy than NOW!  Live and enjoy the moment.

Answer the following questions:

  1. Can you name the 5 richest people in the world?
  2. Can you name the last 5 Miss Universe winners?
  3. Can you name the last 10 Nobel Prize winners?
  4. Can you name the last 10 winners of the Best Actor Oscar?

Can’t do it?  Don’t worry, nobody does.  Applause die away!  Trophies gather dust.  Winners are soon forgotten.

Now answer the following questions:

  1. Can you name 5 teachers who contributed to your education?
  2. Can you name 5 friends who helped you in time of need?
  3. Can you name 10 people who made you feel special?
  4. Can you name 5 people who you like to spend time with?

More manageable?  Easier isn’t it?  The people who mean something to your life are not rated “the best”, don’t have the most money, haven’t won the greatest prizes…They are the ones who care about you, take care of you, those who, no matter what, stay close by.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~ Proverbs 18:24

Some time ago, at the Seattle Olympics, nine athletes, all mentally or physically challenged, were standing on the starting line for the 100 meter race.  The gun fired and the race began.  Not everyone was running, but everyone wanted to participate and win.  As they were racing…a boy tripped and fell, did a few somersaults and started crying.  The rest of the group slowed down and looked behind them.  They stopped and came back…all of them.  A girl with Down Syndrome sat down next to him, hugged him and asked, “Feeling better now?”  Then all nine walked shoulder to shoulder to the finish line.  The whole crowd stood up and applauded.  And the applause lasted a very long time…People who witnessed it, still talk about it.  WHY?

“A friend loves at all times…” ~ Proverbs 17:17

Because deep down inside us, we all know that the most important thing in life is much more than winning for ourselves.  The most important thing in this life is to help others to win.  Even if that means slowing down and changing our own race.

“A CANDLE LOSES NOTHING IF IT IS USED TO LIGHT ANOTHER ONE.”

Matthew 6:25-26,34 (The Message)

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Is it difficult for you to find happiness in all things?  Are you allowing your circumstances to determine your outlook on life?  Sometimes, this can be extremely difficult to do.  What are some practical ways in how you find happiness in your life, despite your circumstances?

God bless you!  Rak Chazak!

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