IT WILL MAKE ME HAPPY!
This amazing world is filled with interesting things that can satisfy a restless heart and bring peace and contentment. We are all familiar with the calming effect of a pleasurable drive in a car. House furnishings, TVs, DVD players, and stereos are pleasurable adult toys.
Most of us can recall happy moments enjoying a delicious meal together. Buying clothes, looking after the hair, the face, and the body are pleasant activities. The lawn, flowers, bushes, trees, and shrubs can provide hours of enjoyment and relaxation. Alcohol is the oil that eliminates social friction. Swallowing pills can calm you down or pick you up.
I was working overseas with a gentleman who was a highly successful and prominent engineer. He invited me to his home. His driveway was a quarter of a mile long; as we approached the house, I saw the six-car garage with a car in each one. The home had a butler, a chauffeur, a gardener, two maids, a nanny, and a cook. The acreage was large and very private, with a horse stable, swimming pool, and tennis court. We had our own private accommodations in a separate wing of the house. He had everything money could buy, but his family was in shambles.
At a family life conference where I had spoken during the previous year, he realized his life was empty and that during the accumulation of all his wealth he had neglected his wife and family. At the conference he had committed to establish a positive relationship with his family.
My purpose during this visit, a year after his first conference, was to see if I could help overcome some of the barriers that separated him from his wife and family. Sadly, as it turned out, his wife was not even willing to consider a closer relationship with him at this time.
Here was the display of all the things money could buy. It was also a stark reminder that there are some things money cannot buy: the spirit of love, joy, peace, and kindness flowing back and forth between parents, partners, and children. Today he remains committed to his goal with his family, but it may take a long time.
CAN ANYTHING BEAT FRIENDSHIP?
An obvious pathway to find relief from tension and stress is to pour out our thoughts and feelings to a sympathetic listener. I’ve spent most of my life as a counselor, and I can assure you that you can find relief through counseling and therapy without giving God a thought.
A newspaper report on a conference for the survivors of suicides featured one mother’s story. Her world ended on the day her son killed himself. She told other survivors of suicides that their feelings of anguish, anger, and guilt are normal. Eventually she allowed her feelings of guilt to wash away when her therapist helped her realize she wasn’t to blame.¹
One human being helping another: a pat on the back, a friendly hug, or a compliment from someone you care about is delightfully soothing.