A philosopher friend said recently: “God really has to love unhappy people, otherwise he wouldn’t have done the same”.
We rarely meet happy people. Most people would like to be somewhere else, doing something else, or being someone else.
Contentment is a rare commodity. The modern human race is the source of much of this unhappiness. We are constantly challenged to aspire to better things, to aim higher, to aim for the stars, to strive to be better, richer, more popular. Gather more bling. In other words, don’t be content with who you are or where you are.
Magazines and television run advertisements for expensive cars and designer clothes, handcrafted shoes, jeweled Swiss watches and rare malt whiskeys. Usually, an attractive, leggy model leans against the million-dollar sports car, implying that she will fall in love with the man who drives one. She won’t.
There is no limit to the dissatisfaction we weave around us because there is always someone richer or more flashy, and we want to be that someone.
If I live in a nine-bedroom palace in Queens Court, I’m unhappy because my friend has a 15-bedroom palace in Swakopmund. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of worrying about what we might be, we thought about what we are, for a change. My old bakkie keeps me safe and comfortable wherever I want to go. It may not be able to go 180 km/h like my friend’s Mercedes, but in reality my friend can never go that fast because there is too much traffic on the roads.
I love sharing a bottle of Diet Coke with my wife on a Saturday night. It costs me less than N$50. I wonder if I would have much more fun sharing a N$1,000 bottle of Bordeaux red with her. We barely notice the wine in our glasses. Fun is all about friendship, conversation and sharing. It is wealth beyond price. Look at advertisements for expensive vacations in America or France. Would we be happier there than sitting in the sun on a restaurant terrace sharing a pizza and a coffee with four good old friends? I doubt.
The art of living well is not to look at what could be. It’s to watch the riches you have – the sun, the friendship, the soaring seagulls, the craftsmen who make intricate beaded animals, the street musicians.
In conclusion, ask a dozen people what the word blessing means and you’ll probably get a dozen different answers. For many people, this means financial security. For some people it means good health for still others it means meaningful relationships with important people in their lives. Even in the Bible, the word is used to express several thoughts. Therefore, the life we have is as rich as possible. Were rich. We should be as happy as possible.
* Reverend Jan A Scholtz is the former president of the //Kharas Regional Council and former ward councilor for !Nami#nus. He holds a Theology degree, B-Theo (SA), a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA) and a Diploma in Education III (KOK) BA (HED ) from UNISA.