Happiness from the past or future?

(Quick administrative aside: It’s still the plan to get to the backlog of videos to post and to get to daily video posting.  Other priorities keep getting in the way.  In the meantime, expect occasional posts about topics as they come to my mind.)

I’ve been slowly reading ‘Seven Storey Mountain’ by Thomas Merton and there was a passage I just read that struck me.  He was talking about an incident where he appeared happy to a friend whom he had bumped into on the street.  The friend asked him, “Where are you going?” under the assumption that it was excitement of a future event that was the cause of his happiness.

But in fact, it was the other way around, Merton’s joy came from having come from Mass and receiving the Eucharist.

It makes me think of the odd trend we as American’s have regarding Christmas.  We spend a month (or more) in a joyful mood looking forward to Christmas.  Yet most of us spend no more than a day celebrating Christmas.  The most common sight I see the day after Christmas: Dead trees on the curb.

Obviously both the future and the past should be opportunities for happiness in our minds.  As Christians we are people of hope.  The thought and planning for the future should bring us happiness and joy.  But I think we’re too quick to let go of our past joys instead of letting them linger in our hearts.  We should let the good of the past hour, day, week or even month, constantly infect us with happiness and joy.

Let’s make that a goal for the near term, to be as happy about the joys of the past as about what we are looking forward to.

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