Among their Practical Tips for Productive Living, Marc and Angel list 9 things no one should have to give up to be happy.
Notable list items include:
6. Meaningful dreams and goals
9. Good times shared with good friends
I used to assume dreams, goals, friends, and shared fun were human basics, almost givens. Since June 2014 I've been working through this "happiness blog." This is take 9 that I need to trust will go live in time for Wednesday, because Wednesday will be Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent.
Christina Rasmussen of Second Firsts reminds us, "Purpose is the only thing that keeps our souls alive and doing." Both Christina and Barry Pearman of Turning the Page insist time doesn't heal... action does! In fact, those exact words are Christina's current tagline.
What keeps chasing me in my hunger for happiness, my hankering after new life?! My literally vain (in many senses) attempts to practice resurrection wherever I am, almost everywhere I've ever been? Art, design, urban (make that inner city) ministry... loneliness has chased me nearly into death. I'm trying hard to attend every social occasion that comes my way, sparse as they are these days. I want you to know my story, my journey, my pain. I can't walk alone any longer. I need someone to be there for me, with me.
Marc and Angel remind us:
"Although happiness is a journey that requires effort and progress, it must also be shared. If you attempt to do it all alone, you will not succeed as a human being. Your heart will wither if it does not occasionally answer another heart. Your mind will shrink away if it hears only the echoes of your own thoughts, and finds no other inspiration or relevant conversation.
"Any bit of happiness unshared can scarcely be called happiness in the long run; it lacks substance and taste. So whatever it is that makes you happy, do it and share it. Don’t hide it and hoard it."
Because I know what it's like to be relatively functional, I remember well what it means to participate fully enough to make a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations surrounding mine, and except for starting to approach a reasonable degree of participation and recognition for about a year during 2006-2007 (and into early 2008), I know this sure ain't relative function or reasonable participation. I also observe people online and in real life, and despite this being 2015, what I'm asking is not impossible, though I do know this is far far from even minimal participation.
Last summer a blogging friend wrote, "We all want to know that we matter to someone in the world. Without that weight, we float through life trying to find something to anchor us to the world, a reason to live, a reason to care."