3 “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 4 “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. 5 “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth. 6 “Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. 7 “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. 8 “Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God. 9 “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children. Matthew 5:3-9, CEB
Being a pragmatic type, I never really spent much time thinking about the “new year”. As I’m writing this, we’re a couple days away from January 1. I think we tend to hold onto some vague hope that the new year will actually bring with it some sense of newness. We make resolutions to do things we didn’t do the previous year. I personally never understood this. If I want to make a change I either make it right then and there or, if I don’t, I figure I just don’t want to change that badly. Why wait for New Year’s? Whatever the case may be, we make these resolutions in the hope that our lives will change and we’ll be somewhat happier as a result.
Sometimes I wonder if I really need any change in my life in order to be happier. Generally, as I’m writing this, I’m happy. But that can be a fleeting thing. We live in a culture where most of our needs are met. Most of the people I know have roofs over their heads, clothes, and food. When we have these things, we turn our attention elsewhere. We start getting picky. I was telling Brittany the other night how spoiled I felt as we tried to decide where to eat dinner. A majority of the world wonders whether or not they will even eat dinner. Not only did I get to eat that night, but I got to pick the exact kind of food I was going to eat. I realized in that moment, briefly, how petty my anxieties typically are.
We live in one of the most emotionally depressed countries in the world. I recently saw an article online that said we’re number 1 with 10% rate of depression. I’ve seen other studies that aren’t quite so high- but we’re always in the top 10 anyway. Our economy has been in a really tough place in comparison to how it has been in the past and, yet, many of us still have our physical needs met. This isn’t true for everyone, everywhere, and I also know people who are struggling to hold down jobs and work. By and large, though, I know people who can eat when they need to and sleep indoors.
If that’s all you’ve ever known, it’s hard to really have a sense of perspective about that. It just seems like a given. But, hey, we can try.