How To Be Happy

If you want to be happy, be grateful; if you want to make others happy, tell them you are grateful for their existence. It is as simple as that. Giving thanks is something human beings are created for, and we do it best when we forget ourselves and simply rejoice in the gift of being, especially God’s. That is what monks and nuns do all day long, thank and praise God that he is; and when we fail to do that, or allow our grumbles and gripes to get the upper hand, everything goes wrong. Instead of a huge smile spreading across the face of creation, there is a snarl of selfishness instead. It makes others unhappy, as well as ourselves. We turn inwards, become preoccupied, add to the world’s misery and pain.

Today our friends in the U.S.A. are celebrating Thanksgiving. In an important sense, every day should be a day of thanksgiving. Whether American or not, why don’t we all take a moment or two to register how much we can and should give thanks for? We don’t have to pretend to be grateful for things that distress us, but we can always find someone or something for which to give thanks without any falsification. People sometimes say they have asked God for something and he hasn’t answered their prayer in the way they wanted, so they are giving up on him — conveniently forgetting that he hasn’t given up on them. Perhaps saying ‘thank you’ might change their perspective, allowing God a little space in their lives. No one really likes being reduced to the level of a shopping-list or fairy godmother, not even God.

We don’t know what today will hold, but let’s begin it by giving thanks for the gift of a new day, for all that has been, all that is, and all that is still to come.

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6 thoughts on “How To Be Happy”

  1. Thank you for reminding me of this. My parents always told me to count my blessings. And the older I get, the more this seems an absolute prerequisite for a joyful life. There is so much to be grateful for. I’m reminded of Dag Hammarsjköld’s prayer: “For all that has been, thanks; for all that is to come, Yes”.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with the above comment. And I am reminded of a sentence from the rule of Taize,
      ‘The spirit of poverty is to live in the gladmess of today.’

  2. Thank you for reminding us all of this truth. Grumbling always turns us in on ourselves, being full of thankfulness orientates us towards others – and everyone benefits. Meister Eckhart OP in the 13th century said: ‘If the only prayer we say in our entire life is ‘Thank you’, that will be enough.’ Hear hear!

  3. Grateful for you and your community and the opportunity to
    reflect on the posts in this blog. Glad to be reminded that there are many reasons -large and small -to be grateful.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. If you went to be happy be grateful, if you want to make others happy, tell them you are grateful for their existence. It is as simple as that.
    We don’t have to pretend to be grateful for things that distress us…. What such great words,so nutritive,…

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