The quest for happiness is an unending one. We spend our lives searching for something we cannot describe or accurately measure, and are never quite sure we have found or lost. Yet it is fair to say that while some give up and settle for whatever it is they have, many continue the quest right up until the time they die. Perhaps we are looking too hard for what is already without our control. Let me suggest the following.
Joel notes Divinity’s response to the people of his day. “God answered and spoke to his people, ‘Look, listen—I'm sending a gift: Grain and wine and olive oil. The fast is over—eat your fill! I won't expose you any longer to contempt among the pagans.” (Joel 2.19)
My premise for happiness comes from the fact that Divinity could only give what Divinity had to give and it was not as simple as grain, wine, and olive oil. It was more than self-esteem. It was a simple moment of happiness. Yet our analysis is not complete unless we understand Divinity’s part in this. Was Divinity merely giving away the excess or did the act of giving give birth to our thanks and appreciation which in turn delivered happiness back to God on a plate?
Think of a world where people tailored their “response” to others.
For the single mother fighting the kids? A quiet evening with food delivered as the kids were tutored and nurtured by someone modeling the very values they so desperately graved – compassion, integrity, and control.
For the politician struggling to get his or her message out? The publication or airing of a well researched piece with a side-bar highlighting the story behind the politician’s passion for their viewpoint.
For a friend struggling with relentless pressures? A thoughtful expression of support, caring, and concern coupled with an expression of willingness to help.
It is in the act of giving a gift, especially as tailored for the situation, that we receive what we most desire, happiness. Happiness wrapped in love, thankfulness, and acceptance – priceless.