Sunday, August 10, 2008

Published 3:37 PM by with 2 comments

What Do We Really Want?

There was such a good article in today's church bulletin that I had to post an excerpt from it here. It's from "Heaven: The Heart's Deepest Longing", by Peter Kreeft (1980). I've been thinking about it all day, and I hope it will provoke as much thought in those who are tolerant enough to read my blog : )

"There is a very old wisdom, quite out of fashion today, that says we are not supposed to be happy here. In fact, no one is really happy here, and the "pursuit of happiness", which the American Declaration of Independence declares one of our "inalienable rights", is in fact the silliest and surest way to unhappiness. This is a wisdom...not just from the past but also from within, from the soft spot in us that we cover up with our hard surface, from the vulnerable little child in us that we mask with our invulnerable adult. Our adult pretends to want pleasure, power, wealth, health, or success, then gets it, then pretends to be happy. But our child knows what we want- nothing less than infinite joy- and, as children, we know we don't have it.

No one is really happy. The phenomenon is universal, not peculiar to some temperaments, for it is not a matter of temperament or feelings, which always undulate like waves. (We are all somewhat manic-depressive.) Beneath this surface, beneath the waves of satisfaction alternating with dissatisfaction of surface desires, the deep hunger of the heart remains unsatisfied. ...It is precisely when life treats us best that the deepest dissatisfaction arises. As long as we lack worldly happiness, we can deceive ourselves with the "if only" syndrome: if only I had this or that, I would be happy. But once we have all our thises and thats and are still unhappy, the deception is exposed. That's why rich and powerful modernity is not happier than previous cultures. That's the answer to Freud's question: "Why aren't we happy?"

Our greatest bitterness comes not only in the sham sweetness of riches and power but also in the middle of our truest earthly sweetness: hearing a symphony, seeing a sunset, complete sexual love. It is highest life that sets us longing for something more than this life..."

Also, there was an awesome quote in church today, by Confucius. "There are three ways to wisdom. The first is by reflection, and that is the hardest. The second is by imitation, and that is the easiest. The third is by experience, and that is the bitterest." Then my pastor added, "but I would also add that wisdom gained by experience is by far the most precious".
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Published 10:27 AM by with 0 comment

You Anoint My Head With Oil, My Cup Overflows

Blessings Of the Week

Moving into a beautiful apartment- Thank you, Lord, for the dishwasher, the ant-free kitchen, the clean carpet, the tiny balcony where I can continue to grow my tomatoes and herbs, the friends who helped us move, the absence of thunderstorms and rain for exactly three and a half days it took us to move, the long staircase that will give me a work-out every day, the swimming pool in the complex, the cheap laundromat one building away, and the nest of baby birds outside the window.

Fellow musicians- Thank you, Lord, for the joy of playing music with friends, outdoors in your creation. For the relaxing hours lying in the grass with guitars, singing, deep discussions about You and why You can be an anchor in a free-floating culture, and the fellowship of believers, thank you.

Musical opportunity- Thank you, Lord, for providing me with a great duet partner, who pushes me to do my best, never accepting mediocre. Thank you also, Lord, for the sudden surprise of Mozart-Man getting into the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. What an honor, at twenty-one, to sing with such a great group of musicians!

Close calls- Thank you, Lord, for all the times you protected me this week from potentially dangerous or stupid situations. The time when I was out riding my bike back from the bike shop and a huge storm came up with the tornado sirens going off. The time when the door almost hit me in the face, and if it had, I would have been knocked out cold, alone in the apartment. The time when I almost slipped and fell in the old house while standing on a chair removing nails. The time when I almost crashed my car because I was so tired and not paying attention to the young family in the car driving in my blind spot. The time yesterday when I forgetfully left a candle burning in the kitchen, then went and ran errands, and You didn't let the apartment catch on fire.

Communication- Thank you, Lord, for the myriad of ways to communicate in this day and age. Writing letters to my sister, sending cards for holidays, emailing old friends, calling my mom on the phone...there are so many avenues. Thank you especially for yesterday, when I was able to talk to someone who I hadn't been able to talk to for a whole year, whose very presence used to annoy me, and thank you for the change of heart that showed me how stupid I was and Your grace that led me to speak with that person and actually enjoy it.
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