When I was growing up, the comic strip Peanuts (by Charles Schultz) was super-popular. Every now and then a collection of his comic strips would come out in paperback form. At least one of those books, as I recall, was entitled something like Happiness Is. Some of the comic strips in that book compared happiness to a warm puppy, a blanket, a friend, home, a good friend, and other things along that line. When we think of happiness we surely think of all those things and more. Saints, philosophers, writers, movie makers, and even we each pursue happiness. Yet at times it can certainly be elusive.
“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.” — Aristotle wrote. Now I have to admit that philosophy was most definitely my LEAST favorite subject in college. It made me nervous. However, I agree with Aristotle on this point. The most appropriate spot for my soul is to be in harmony with God. When I am in lockstep with God, i feel like a car after a realignment, oil change, fill up, and tune up. Things are humming along. I don’t at all mean I am problem-free at those moments. Instead, even though the road may be rough and the climb steep, I do not feel as though I am going to fall apart or fall off a cliff.
Another example of my soul settling into its most appropriate spot is a campfire analogy. Have you ever been with a bunch of friends or relatives around a campfire at dusk or evening? Everyone is gathered around, chatting, maybe even singing? People may be sitting on the ground, on chairs, or benches. Feet may be propped up on logs. At various times one person or another may get up to get some more food, or a marshmallow, or a soda, or whatever? I have!. I get up walk away from the campfire, and come right back. The entire time I can just feel that fellowship. Everyone fits together—and it is lovely. The smiles and voices seem especially endearing and loving. It just feels so, so perfect. Every now and then one person or another may spontaneously put an arm around another in a gesture of sweet, pure love. People just nod, smile, say something encouraging….it is just pure love. That campfire scene is an analogy of an appropriate spot.
Warm puppies, warm hugs, loving moments, singing John Denver songs (told you before I am from the Kumbaya years, right?)…sometimes I like to picture heaven looking that way. God stoking the campfire. Loving people all around. He gazes at each person individually with pure love—-and you just know….yes, you know….here you are….at the soul’s most appropriate place.
We are given moments like that in life. I treasure those moments intensely. I can journey there in my mind, May God bless your day with moments that take your breath away. Or may you have beautiful memories of moments that took your breath away.