The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Friday, March 1, 2013

Yesterday, I Heard Happiness Has a Price: $75,000: Good News from Christianity

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and one of the interviewees (it was a busy day and I don't remember which one, sorry) stated that people who are currently earning under $75,000 for a family of four can't be truly happy because they are struggling to make ends meet and simply can't go out with loved ones and friends to enjoy life's simple pleasures like a game together at the ball park or an evening at the theater or a night out at a good restaurant. I was shocked. By this standard, I know a whole lot of people who simply can't be happy! I'll bet you do too.

Well, I'm a contrarian. I say it isn't so. Many may not be able to take in Les Mis in New York or go to a professional ball game (given the prices today), but happiness is not out of reach. Robert Darden, in his book Jesus Laughed: the Redemptive Power of Humor, observed that to be truly happy, all that is required is for you to help somebody else, somebody who needs a hand. Christians have been instructed to do so by our own leader, Jesus, who stated that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves (meaning, as gleaned from the parable of the Good Samaritan, to help those who need our help that we can help). As Darden observes:

You want to be happy? Help someone else because you love them, not because they deserve it. The more you're assisting someone less fortunate than yourself, the less time you spend thinking about yourself. 

And would it hurt to laugh once and a while as you do so? Nope, in fact, it'll help a lot. Darden states: "Laughter fights the darkness. Laughter says, 'I believe. Despite it all, I believe'."

So, help somebody else, laugh enough to fight back the darkness around you, and live a better life for it. That really doesn't come with much of a price tag ... and I don't think you have to be earning $75,000 or more a year to do it.

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1 comment:

Tracy said...

Appreciate your perspective. We live in a world where the thought is that money can buy happiness. We know it can not. As you point out, giving/helping others lifts one's spirits as little else can do.