Monday, May 5, 2014

Happiness happens!

“... It is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to 'be happy.' But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to 'be happy.' Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy...". 
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

We mustn't search for "happiness," but rather for "meaning." Only when we find meaning, will we be truly happy. But, to draw from a country western song, many may be "searching for meaning in all the wrong places," and they despair when they come up empty, "discovering" only meaninglessness and nothingness. I understand their disappointment and despair, but I reject that the failure to find meaning establishes that there is none to be found.

By traditional Western measurements, Emmanuel has not enjoyed a "happy" life, but rather a life of loss and great pain. (See earlier post.) "Pursuit of happiness" never occurred to him. However, he has found meaning and purpose in encouraging and serving others, and in that, he has found great happiness and joy