the pastor's story file
a resource file for pastors/teachers/speakers
THEME: Joy / Happiness / Unhappiness Number 27 (Volume 3, Number 3) — January / 1987
SCATTERED JOY AT PLEASANT INNS ALONG THE WAY The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world; but joy, pleasure and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and pose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. +++++
C. S. Lewis, as quoted in Westhope Presbyterian Church bulletin, Saratoga,
SUMMING IT ALL UP Perhaps one of the most profound stories on happiness is the old familiar one:
A puppy said to a big dog, "I have mastered philosophy. I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is my tail. Therefore I am chasing it; and when I catch it, I shall have it!"
The old dog replied, "I, too, have judged that happiness is a marvelous thing for a dog, and that happiness indeed resides in my tail. But I've noticed that when I chase it, it keeps running away from me; but when I go about my business, it comes after
THOSE WHO HAVE IT / THOSE WHO DON'T One day a young friend of Bertrand Russell, the philosopher noticed that the celebrated thinker was in a state of deep and profound contemplation. The young man asked, "Why so meditative?"
Russell replied: "Because I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant [wise scholar] I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite.
As quoted by Clifton Fadiman in The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, page 483.
THE CYNIC ON HAPPINESS Paul Eldridge's Maxims For The Modern Man is full of acerbic, witty and bitter maxims including the following under Happiness and Sorrow:
Happiness is a truce between one sorrow and another.
Since the full appreciation of our happiness depends upon witnessing the misfortune of others, Life, the gracious hostess, favors all of us — in rotation.
Happiness found at one's door should be rejected, for happiness must be the ultimate victory after long and hazardous battles.
NOTHING MAKES YOU HAPPIER Born over sixty years ago in Yugoslavia, she responded to God's call on her life while still a teenager. A missionary's strong challenge to give her life to teaching in India resulted in her appointment to the city of Calcutta. Some months later she saw a sight which completely revolutionized her life, and would ultimately bring her world wide fame as Good Housekeeping magazine's "Most-Admired-Woman" selection. What was the sight? A homeless, dying woman lying in the gutter, being eaten by rats.
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Compassion compelled her to beg an abandoned Hindu temple from the government, and convert it into a crude make-shift hospital for the dying. Her comment became her life's thrust — "If there is a God in heaven, and a Christ we love, nobody should die alone."
Recently, this woman who has since established colonies for over 10,000 lepers in 28 cities, was interviewed by Malcolm Muggeridge from the BBC News. "Mother Teresa, the thing I noticed about you and the hundreds of sisters who now form your team is that you all look so happy, is that a put-on?" She replied, "Oh no, not at all. NOTHING MAKES YOU HAPPIER THAN WHEN YOU REALLY REACH OUT IN MERCY TO SOMEONE WHO IS BADLY HURT." Service is its own reward. True mercy begets genuine joy. +++++
Adapted from Robert Schuller's, The Be-Happy Attitudes, pages 135-137.
Submitted by Martin Jose, Valley Christian Center, Dos Palos, California.
A CHOICE Dr. Viktor Frankl, author of the book, Man's Search For Meaning, was imprisoned by the Nazis in the Second World War, because he was a Jew. His wife, his children, and his parents were all killed in the holocaust.
The Gestapo made him strip. He stood there totally naked. As they cut away his wedding band, Viktor said to himself. "You can take away my wife, you can take away my children, you can strip me of my clothes and my freedom, but there is one thing no person can EVER take away from me — and that is my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me!" Even under the most difficult of circumstances, happiness is a choice which transforms our tragedies into triumph. +++++
Adapted from Robert Schuller's The Be-Happy Attitudes, page 199. Submitted by Martin Jose, Valley Christian Center, Dos Palos, California.
MONEY Many people have finally realized that money can't buy happiness. Now they're trying credit cards. On The Upbeat
HIDDEN JOY A gifted public speaker was asked to recall his most difficult speaking assignment. He said, "That's easy. It was an address I gave to the National Conference of Undertakers. The topic they gave me was 'How To Look Sad At A Ten Thousand Dollar Funeral.'
JOY COMPARED TO HAPPINESS Joy is that which encompasses and transcends both happiness and sadness. Once endowed with joy; a person is not likely to lose it and in fact it grows with awareness of it. Joy is like the sun, always shining even when night falls or clouds cover it. Happiness is like the moon, waxing and waning. Happiness is a kiss, joy a golden wedding anniversary. Happiness is frequently shared but not always — joy is always. Happiness is born in the mind, joy in the heart. Happiness comes from humans, joy from God. Happiness is exchanging Christmas gift —joy is awareness of what Christmas is all about.
From F. E. Arn, in The Living Church, submitted by Lewis Hodgkins, St. Peter's
Episcopal Church, Pomeroy, Washington.
The Pastor's Story File (Copyright 1986) (ISSN 0882-3545) (USPS 738-650) is published monthly for $24.95 per year by Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. Second-Class Postage paid at Saratoga, California. Postmaster: Send address changes to THE PASTOR'S STORY FILE, c/o Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. To foreign countries — subscription rate is $30.95 in US$ or currency of equivalent value. Phone: (408) 867-4211
+++++ This mark indicates the winners of a one-year extension in our Mini-Contest on Happiness.
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A HYMN OF JOY AND THANKSGIVING During the Thirty Years' War (1620 to 1648) the little town of Eilenburg, in Saxony, suffered severely. It was sacked by Austrians and Swedes. The influx of refugees brought crowding and the plague visited their town four times during the 28 years. Only one pastor survived it all and he sometimes had to conduct funerals for 50 persons in one day. Famine left its mark.
When the news of the Peace of Westphalia came the Elector of Saxony ordered Thanksgiving Services to be held and gave the preachers throughout the land a text from Ecclesiasticus 50:22 "Now bless ye the God of all, Who everywhere doeth great things, Who exalteth our days from the womb and dealeth with us according to His mercy. May he grant us joyful hearts, and may peace be in our days forever."
Pastor Martin Rinkart was struck by the power of the text and pondered it and shaped the sentiments into a hymn which has now been used in many languages and is used throughout the world. There is particular power in these lines when you remember the horrors of war the author had experienced and the close of that war which it commemoratEd. Rinkart's words have been translated by Miss Winkworth into the now familiar words:
Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands, and voices, Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices; Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
Adapted from Great Hymns And their Stories by W. J. Limmer Sheppard (Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania), pages 11, 12.
REALISTIC HAPPINESS Who could speak more realistically about the illusion of a yuppie value system than Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who suffered deprivation of all that money can buy. In "The Prison Chronicle" he says, as few of us can, "Don't be afraid of misfortune and do not yearn after happiness. It is, after all, all the same. The bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if hunger and thirst don't claw at your sides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms work, if both eyes can see, and if both ears can hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart and prize above all else in the world those who love you and wish you well." +-H--H-
As reported in Christianity Today, submitted by Rich Hardison, Tabernacle Church
of Norfolk, Virginia.
ELUSIVE HAPPINESS Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and softly sits on your shoulder.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Submitted by Lewis Hodgkins, St. Peter's Episcopal Church,
NO REGRET IN JOY There is only one thing about which I shall have no regrets when my life ends. I have savored to the full all the small, daily joys. The bright sunshine on the breakfast table; the smell of the air at dusk; the sound of the clock ticking; the light rains that start gently after midnight; the hour when the family come home; Sunday-evening tea before the fire! I have never missed one moment of beauty, not ever taken it for granted. Spring, summer, autumn, or winter. I wish I had failed as little in other ways.
Agnes Turnbull, The Treasure Chest (Harper & Row, San Francisco), p. 156.
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C.S. LEWIS ON JOY Joy is never in our power and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world.
C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, submitted by Lewis Hodgkins, St. Peter's
Episcopal Church, Pomeroy, Washington.
TRUE JOY This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievance complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. George Bernard Shaw
DR. GEORGE BURNS If you were to go around asking people what would make them happier, you'd get answers like a new car, a bigger house, a raise in pay, winning a lottery, a face-lift, more kids, less kids, a new restaurant to go to — probably not one in a hundred would say a chance to help people. And yet that may bring the most happiness of all.
I don't know Dr. Jonas Salk, but after what he's done for us with his polio vaccine, if he isn't happy, he should have that brilliant head of his examined. Of course, not all of us can do what he did. I know I can't do what he did; he beat me to it.
But the point is, it doesn't have to be anything that extraordinary. It can be working for a worthy cause, performing a needed service, or just doing something that helps another person.
From Dr. George Burns' Prescription For Happiness, by George Burns, page 141.
Submitted by Rabbi Paul Caplan, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
FINDING LOST JOY Many years ago, a little boy was given a priceless possession: his deceased grandfather's gold pocket watch. How he treasured it! But one day, while playing at his father's ice plant, he lost the watch amid all the ice and sawdust.
He searched and scratched, becoming frantic, but no watch. Then he suddenly realized what to do. He stopped scurrying around and became very still. In the silence, he heard the watch ticking.
God has given each of us a priceless gift of joy in Jesus. How easy it is to lose our joy in the scurrying around of life. Yet it is always there to find, if we will but pause and listen to the beautiful presence of Jesus in our hearts. +++++ Submitted by Steve Morrison, Bremerton, Washington.
GOOD DAYS An older member of our parish taught me a beautiful lesson one day when I casually wished him a good day. He remarked, "They're all good days. It's what we put in them that changes them." In Genesis 1 we read that as God made the world, day by day — he pronounced that creation process good — day by day. Submitted by Steve Morrison, Bremerton, Washington.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN Benjamin Franklin, with his sagacity and wit, was a man who thoroughly enjoyed trimming hecklers down to size. During the early days of the American Republic, he spoke many times on that great document, the Constitution of the United States. After one such stirring speech, an uncouth fellow rose and boldly walked a few paces toward the platform. "Aw, them words don't mean nothin' a-tall! he shouted at Franklin. "Where's all that happiness you say it guarantees us?" Franklin smiled benevolently at the questioner, and quickly, blandly, Old Ben replied, "My friend, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it for yourself!"
The Sword of the Lord, March 1984, Submitted by Rich Hardison, Tabernacle Church
of Norfolk Virginia.
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EQUIPPED FOR LIFE
Because the way was steep and long, And through a strange and lonely land, God placed upon my lips a song, And put a lantern in my hand Joyce Kilmer
FULL LIFE If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. He will not be striving for it as a goal in itself. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day.
W. Beran Wolfe, The Treasure Chest (Harper & Row, San Francisco), page 118.
A BOY AND HIS DOG
Just wandering down a winding path, Tattered straw hat on his head,
A picture of contentment and joy. Whistling a merry song
A soft and wiggly puppy A bag of goodies tucked under his arm
And a freckle-faced, barefoot boy. And his puppy tagging along.
With fishing pole on his shoulder Golden locks of tousled hair
And his puppy by his side, Blowing in his face,
He's headed for a gurgling stream Nary a care in all the world
Where all the big fish hide. But to beat his puppy in race!
Ruth Underhill, Ideals Skin so smooth and golden-tanned From the sun of summer days, Sifting the dust between his toes While his puppy dashes at play.
I HAVE FOUND JOY
I have found such joy in simple things —
A plain clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
And in a leaf-flecked square upon a floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.
I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days, — a curtain's blowing grace,
A growing-plant upon a window sill,
A rose fresh-cut and placed within a vase,
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
and books I long have loved beside me there.
Author unknown, The Speaker's Sourcebook, Ed. Eleanor Doan (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1960).
A SIMPLE FORMULA You should do something every day to make other people happy, even if it's only to leave them alone.
HELEN KELLER ON HAPPINESS Many persons have a wrong idea about what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratifications, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
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ON THE RIGHT TO BE UNHAPPY W. H. Auden expresses contempt for the happiness of a crowing rooster. Hearing !A cock pronouncing himself / though all his sons had been castrated and eaten,' Auden says, 'I was glad I could be unhappy.' The rooster manages to be so gleeful in the morning because his brain is the size of a pea. With gleeful people walking through the streets of Johannesburg or stumbling merrily over the ruins of Belfast, I, like Auden, am glad that it is still possible to be unhappy."
William Willimon, in his "Homage to Clio" as quoted by Martin Marty in Context,
May 15, 1986, page 2.
MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY The late Congressman Sol Bloom would habitually drop a coin into the street. When someone asked why, he said, laughingly, "Oh, somebody is sure to find it and be happy the rest of the day."
FINDING HAPPINESS Guard within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness. Know how to replace in your heart, by the happiness of those you love, the happiness that may be wanting to yourself.
George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucie, nee Dupin)
SIX PHASES OF A PROJECT
1. Enthusiasm and Happiness About the Great Idea
4. Search for the Guilty
5. Punishment of the Innocent
6. Praise, Honors and Great Joy for the Non-Participants
THE LIGHT OF HAPPINESS Happiness has no reason. It is not to be found in the facts of our lives, but in the color of the light by which we look at the facts.
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health and quiet breathing. "Endymion" by John Keats, 1817
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WHO IS HAPPY? An English newspaper asked this question: "Who are the happiest people on earth?" These were the four prize-winning answers:
A craftsman or artist whistling over a job well done
A little child building sand castles.
A mother, after a busy day, bathing her baby.
A doctor who has finished a difficult and dangerous operation, and saved a human life. No millionaires among these, one notices. No kings or emperors. Riches and rank, no matter how the world strives for them, do not make happy lives.
Jacob Braude, Lifetime Speaker's Encyclopedia, Vol 1., page 350.
TWELVE RULES FOR HAPPINESS
I. Live a Simple Life — Be temperate in your habits, avoid self-seeking and selfishness. Let simplicity be your key.
II. Spend Less Than You Earn — Cultivate frugality, prudence and self-denial. III. Think Constructively — Think clearly and accurately.
IV. Cultivate a Yielding Disposition — Don't always insist on getting things your own way. Look at things from the perspective of others.
V. Be Grateful — Count your blessings and thank God each day. VI. Rule Your Moods — Cultivate the spirit of peace and goodwill. VII. Give Generously — Give cheerfully and wisely, be guided by your head and your heart in concert.
VIII. Work With Right Motives — Make your highest goal to grow in spiritual grace and power.
IX. Be Interested In Others — Spend time and energy in the concerns of others. Listen, share, help, see with their eyes.
X. Live In The Daylight Compartment — One day at a time, concentrate on the immediate task.
XI. Have A Hobby — Spend your leisure time in things that build and fascinate — studying, gardening, singing, sketching, taking pictures, traveling.
XII. Keep Close To God — Walk with the Lord. Share with him in reading his word and talking with him each day.
Adapted from Braude's Lifetime Speaker's Encyclopedia.
PRESCRIPTION FOR UN-HAPPINESS
1. Make little things bother you: don't just let them, MAKE them!
2. Lose your perspective of things, and keep it lost: Don't put first things first.
3. Get yourself a good worry — one about which you cannot do anything but worry.
4. Be a perfectionist: condemn yourself and others for not achieving perfection.
5. Be right: always right: perfectly right all the time. Be the only one who is
right, and be rigid about your Tightness.
6. Don't trust or believe people, or accept them at anything but their worst and
weakest. Be suspicious. Impute ulterior motives to them.
7. Always compare yourself unfavorable to others, which is the guarantee of 'instant
8. Take personally, with a 'chip on your shoulder,' everything that happens to you
that you don't like.
9. Don't give yourself wholeheartedly or enthusiastically to anyone or to anything.
10. Make happiness the aim of your life instead of bracing for life's barbs through a
'bitter with the sweet' philosophy.
Use this prescription regularly for awhile and you will be guaranteed unhappiness. Submitted by Raymond Guterman, Columbus, Georgia
LEARN IT EARLY The art of happiness, like that of bicycling, should be learned as early as possible. The balance, the unconscious poise, the effortless adjustment, do not come naturally to those who have never known them in childhood. Margaret Kennedy
TOPS The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Victor Hugo
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Happiness . . . makes up in height for what it lacks in length. Robert Frost
A Mind To Be Happy . . . Abraham Lincoln said, "I have found that most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Submitted by Steve Morrison, Bremerton, Washington.
Indirect Joy . . . How happy are the pessimists! What joy is theirs when they have proved there is no joy. Marie Ebner-Eschenbach
Goethe On Joy . . . Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though t'were his own.
Finding Happiness ... It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere. Agnes Repplier
Strategy For Happiness ... I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them. John Stuart Mill
The Source of Happiness . . . Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers' gardens. Douglas Jerrold
Sign Near Highway Repairs . . . The road to happiness is always under construction.
The Full Value of Joy . . . Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy, we must have somebody to divide it with. Mark Twain
Joy / S o r row . . . Joys are our wings; sorrows our spurs. Richter
It Follows . . . Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. J. M. Barrie