The greatest gift …

Interesting to find happiness on the agenda suddenly.  David Cameron [taking time off from knowing all the words of Benny Hill’s ‘Ernie’] has been exploring it as a broad political objective – and as I write this I have playing in my mind the dreadful Ken Dodd song and the much less dreadful Morcambe and Wise, ‘Bring me Sunshine’.  I think I can fairly confidently produce examples of what makes people unhappy.  But … is happiness a christian concept … did Jesus die happy … is there happiness in taking up the cross and following?  I recently met a friend who is ill and who said, ‘I am thankful for all that I have received’.  She meant, I think, children, grandchildren – and I felt that I was in the presence of a happy person.  I think there is happiness/contentment in finding integration, wholeness and balance in life and thankfulness seems to be one of the signs of that.  Surprisingly, happiness doesn’t seem to have anything much to do with wealth.  And unhappiness?  Easier, I think.  My two nominations would be … firstly anything which involves self pity and secondly an obsessive commitment to the defence of one’s self-interest, real or imagined.


  1. That’s interesting – certainly lifts happiness above of the ‘ice cream at the seaside’ Misuse of power? Yes, particularly those who have the power to effect change or to do good but choose not to use it and, in reality, inhibit others. And, on the other side, a sort of ‘all things work together …’ feeling that happiness and fulfilment are engendered when a number of thing come together to positive effect

  2. Unhappiness .. the experience of the misuse of power – it is cruel twice over – once for the wrongful act itself and second for the loss of the good use of power that it might have been. This is true in my experience for both the receiving end and on the doing end, over big issues and over small.
    The state in its many forms – through its agents who are people working in departments – is frequently guilty of misusing power.
    We onlookers who do not get involved – who feel powerless to do so – feel, nevertheless, the unhappiness of standing by.
    Misuse of power has another form – which is the refusal to acknowledge the power that lies within us all to connect and to use power wisely.
    Is an old-fashioned word for that ‘ungodliness’ I wonder?
    Happiness, to finish on an upbeat note, is to experience connection, fusion of energy, shared vision.

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