Monday, September 12, 2011

Why the Ups and Downs?

Why is it that we go through periods of happiness followed by despondency? This seems to happen especially after some joyous event.  It happens even to those who have everything: a good home, good job, many friends, and all the means to enjoy any kind of entertainment or even exotic vacations.  Why do we still experience sadness in our lives when we are blessed with so much?

Saint Theophan reminds us that our amusements can give rise to such feelings.
Amusements, especially pleasant ones, give rise to depression, because while they are not sinful, they are unable to content the heart.
It is common for us to seek this deep contentment from the activities of his world:  A football game, a festival, a play or movie, a party and so forth.  But these are only surface and temporary satisfactions for what we long for deeply. They bring a cycle of happiness that is followed by a sadness when it ends. They do not help us with the angst of life which is death and the unknown that this implies for us. They only distract us from the deep questions our ultimate end raises deep within us.  Our heart is seeking something that such worldly activities can not give us.  We long for a contentment that all the activities, all the riches, all the friends, all the processions of this world will not give us.

True joy and contentment only comes with a deep relationship with God.  He is our purpose. Our aim is to be united with Him for eternity. With Him there is no death. This is the message of Jesus Christ.  This is the way of His life, His teaching, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. He showed and called  us to follow and join with Him. As long as we continue to seek union with God, do our best to carry out His commandments, remain humble in His eyes seeking forgiveness and mercy for all our missteps, we will move closer and closer to true happiness, happiness that does not come and go, something that cannot be taken away from us like the temporary satisfactions we get from our amusements.

Saint Theophan says,
Do not forget God, and thank Him for every comfort, accepting such comfort as coming from His hands... God is asking your heart once and for all, and the heart desires God.  for without God it is never satisfied, it is bored; examine yourself from this aspect. Maybe you will find the door to the peace of God there.
Thank God for everything! 

Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 280-281 

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