Saturday, August 11, 2012

Living the Yes: Finding the Beauty of Life

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Prize winner and twentieth-century humanitarian and physician

            Beauty is found in doing what we are created to do. This implies that we are created for some activities (and not for some others). It implies that there’s a God who created us good. It implies, as I’ve been writing, that we find the right time for yes.
            First of all, let me be clear: beauty can be found in following what’s truly best for you and for human flourishing generally. And I don’t think that’s more toys.
            If materialism could do it, we’d all be happy in this culture. It was the newscaster, Peter Jennings, who noted almost two decades ago, in 1997: 
when I came back to my current job and began to wander around this country again, I was struck by how many Americans, in the midst of such plenty, were hungry for something more than our vaunted consumer society could provide for them.
            Over a millennium and a half before that, the great thinker Augustine began his autobiography with this prayer, a prayer of his own discovering that looking for fame and sex and even generalized spirituality left him unsatisfied. 
You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.
            And then again there’s the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who realized in his famous “thoughts” (that’s what the French word means in its title, Pensées) that we all seek to be happy: “By nature, we all seek happiness.” But where do we seek it? “Some seek the good in authority, some in intellectual inquiry and knowledge, some in pleasure.” 
What else does this craving [for happiness], proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.
            So this journey of finding the time for yes leads us back to God. And when we get this right—when we say the right yeses in life (and therefore the right nos)—we find God right at the Center. That’s the Piece that brings this all together. “In Him all things hold together” as the early Christian leader, Paul, wrote to the believers at Colossae (Col. 1:17). That’s where I want my life to be found. Because there is joy, peace, power, happiness, excellence, success, and beauty. That’s life worth living.

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