During Lent our series will focus on the Beatitudes, those eight to ten, and in one location, four saying about goodness, happiness and spirituality. While the basis for this series will be taken from the New Testament, this will not be a purely religious series. It is a series about goodness and our search for it in an overall sense – goodness of living, of health, of being. We will delve into such distinction as the difference between a happy person and an optimistic person and there will be, hopefully, a vignette to explain and explore our discussion each day.
Most Creation stories open with “In the beginning” and the world seems to have been complete, whole, and happy. Then something happens and chaos ensues. While it may seem hard to relate to something like that, most of us experience it every day when we go to check social media. The science of happiness would tell us that while the caveman did not have a Facebook account and the only twitters he heard or saw were from birds in the trees, he did fall victim to the same social pressures that we do when reading about a friend’s seemingly perfect life.
We are all connected and the people in our lives play an important role in the basic goodness we experience and the happiness we feel. Both of these are contributing factors to our sense of well-being and our actual physical health. Skeptics argue that optimistic people may not necessarily live longer and we certainly have discussed that topic before. However, recent scientific research and the resulting evidence indicate that there is a strong link between happiness and health and it goes both ways.
Our approach to living is key in our trying to improve our lives and the world. Being happy will never be as simply as taking a pill and seeing the goodness in life will not be accomplished with an increased prescription for a new pair of glasses. We can, though, take the wisdom of the ages and look at our own approach to living.
Lent is traditionally a time of introspection and, let’s face it, dreary feelings of guilt and shame. Our source material is a wonderful way to change that and improve ourselves without beating ourselves up – figuratively or psychologically. Let’s replace those pounds of guilt with feelings of goodness and happiness! Life will always be a work in progress. I hope you join me for this series in making lemonade out of lemons. Who knows? We might even find a way to make a lemon tart or pie without fewer calories!