Riffing on yesterday’s post, I had a couple clarifying (hopefully) thoughts on ‘happiness.’ Specifically, where does it come from, and what is it?
We’ve all read that quote by Henry Louis Mencken: “If you want peace, work for justice.” And, if you read A Song Searching for Happiness, it’s possible you derived a similar equation. Something like, If you want happiness, look for God. But this would not be precisely accurate.
It could be seen as implying that via God we get what we really want; that is, a working relationship with the Creator sanctifies all the other good stuff that we’re actually obsessed with: Sex, money, prestige, etc., etc. In this scheme, God becomes an avenue toward my own desires. God is the means to my self-esteem, my self-promotion, (to use sinisterbaby’s phrase) my ‘self-actualization.’ So I go on committing this crime of self-focus, and God becomes the accessory.
But happiness is God. This is the shocking part about the happiness formula—its simplicity. As the warrior-king David wrote in Psalm 16, “In your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
God himself is the source of joy, like the sun is the source of daylight. He isn’t interested in aiding and abetting our inferior "bests," no matter how truly we believe in them. Can we enjoy other good things? Of course. But unless the Creator has been encountered, those secondary pleasures leave just a passing taste in the mouth.