Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are our undeniable rights as citizens of the United States. Without harming or interfering with the rights of others, we have the right to freely express our personal thoughts and opinions. We have the right to live for as long as God intended, and to defend ourselves against the violation of our right to life. We have the right to sustain our life, and to make it as comfortable as we desire.
The right to pursue happiness means that we are free to live for ourselves, so long as we respect the rights of others to do the same. No one can be forced to live for the sake of society, or to give over his/her own happiness for the sake of others. The liberty to pursue our personal gain has no limits. You and I have the freedom to get as much of the pie as we can get. Unfortunately, it seems to have become a national obsession to encourage us to gorge.
From the time we are old enough to compare ourselves with those around us, and yearn for what they have—be it prestige, power or possessions—the insanity begins. We get so involved in the race to prosper—making sure that we don’t become one of the “have-not’s”—that we don’t notice the price we are paying for what we’ve attained.
Our bodies sag and wrinkles deepen while we run after whatever will gratify the senses. Have you ever asked yourself what would make you happy? What will totally satisfy your craving, once and for all? Will you ever have enough? Will you ever be comfortable in your own skin—okay with who you are?
What is this thing called happiness anyway? If you look up the origin of this word it means‘a state of well-being brought about by chance.’In other words, happiness is the pleasurable feeling that we experience when luck makes things go our way. Yes, the world is a beautiful place when we’re healthy, our finances are good, and our relationships are stress-free. We are happiest when there are no threats of war, the economy is thriving, and people are not dying all around us.
In the midst of crisis the sunset isn’t as inspiring, the birds don’t sound as sweet, and things just aren’t as funny. But, here’s the thing, situations and circumstances are constantly changing. And the changes are not always pleasant; the stuff that happens to us does not always make life better. So, if our happiness depends on everything going our way, how happy can we expect to be? Why depend on unpredictable circumstances to dictate our degree of happiness?
The current state of the world economy is volatile. What if it gets worse and you lost everything of material importance to you? What if your career goals came to a screeching halt? How would you handle life without the things you have become accustomed to? These are not pleasant possibilities to think about; yet, it might happen. There are many people already in this situation who are changing their perspectives. Tragedies have a way of stopping us in our tracks, forcing us to consider our values and priorities.
Take the victims of 9-11, or even more recently, the victims of these Texas fires, as examples. If these people had known the day before the calamity struck that their future was only 24 hours long, do you think they would have done something differently? What if we find ourselves in that same position? It could happen just as quickly to us. When everything goes up in smoke, what do people have left when the dust settles?
‘We the people’ thought we were safe, secure, and under control before 9-11. We were wrong. Why it is that so many of us do not think about what really matters until we are faced with death or disaster? Right before 9-11, prayer and God were banned at schools, government buildings and the media. Things changed immediately after this tragedy. God was visible on signs everywhere. People began to realize that there is comfort in being a nation under God after all. It is sad that we put Him on the back burner until we can’t handle the heat anymore. Far too often, it is only in our helplessness and weakness that He becomes the full focus of our attention. God has been our spiritual fire-hydrant, and is used only in case of emergencies for far too long.
Everyone who is a part of this free society should be eternally grateful for the opportunities we have been given. But, freedom isn’t really free. Minute by minute the hour glass dispenses the sands of time as we strive to locate happiness. Remember this: Time Spent=Life Expended. The trade off better be worthwhile, and it better be enduring. Every minute of our lives is valuable because once time is spent, it is gone forever. The way we choose to spend our time really does matter. And, here lies the problem. Most people are creatures of habit, and we don’t usually stop to think that things could be—or should be—any different.
If our happiness depends on how much we have, and how high in the success ladder we have climbed—we need to re-evaluate our priorities as soon as possible. The clock is ticking. Please don’t waste your life trying to impress anyone but God.