Long Road to China - Our Adoption Story

Trustmark National Bank account set up:

Donations can be made nation wide at any Trustmark National Bank through the account:
Phillip Smith or Niki J. Smith's Adoption Account

If you would like to mail a donation, please mail it to
Phil or Niki Smith
P.O. Box 332
Rienzi, MS 38865

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Trivial Pursuits

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness (or Happyness for you Will Smith fans)." These famous words were written by a very famous person, probably a Madison, Jefferson, or Adams (they were all pretty busy around that period of history). These words are forever etched in our memory as the Declaration of Independence. They form the basis of our "Rights" as Amercians. They are pretty important- even if we don't really realize it. The only hang-up I have with this declaration is in the "pursuit of happiness" part (Life, Liberty- no problem). But, I have finally figured out that to pursue being happy is futile. It is "chasing the dragon", or better yet....like chasing a cat. Now I'm a dog guy, but I have always been fasinated by watching cats. A house-cat is like a miniature lion. Watch one. They move the same. They stalk prey the same way. When I was a little kid, we had a couple of cats (Tom and Jerry). The one thing that I remember about them is that when my brother and I would try to catch them to play, they would run away. Cats are like that. But if we left them alone or ignored them and found something more interesting to do, they would be in our face in a second. They liked to play but it had to be when 'they' wanted. Cats like human contact..... on their own terms. Happiness is alot like chasing a cat. When we desire it so much and focus solely on catching it, it becomes all the more allusive. We "chase the cat". We try to find happiness in all the things that are supposed to make "us" happy. We get a great job with the great education that we have been laboring on. We work harder and longer to chase the dollar, because this will make us happy.....right? When I ask my students at school what they most want out of life, the answers vary a bit but, they are all pretty much "I want to be happy" (even if they don't realize THAT is what they are saying). They say stuff about being a ______ (fill in the blank with any profession that makes over 100K a year). They talk about cars and having a great house and finally getting to make their own decisions, etc. We as adults do the same. We want so much to discover what will make us happy. We read books, go to seminars, get promotions at work, a bass boat, 4 wheeler, a tan, lose 20 pounds, a pair of Keens, pecks, abs, Lucky jeans, a girl's night out, a boy's night out, a smart-phone, a dumb girlfriend, but we stilllllll aren't really any happier than when we began. These things can be fun and who in the world doesn't like to have a good time??? I basically act like a 12 year old most of the time and it is GREAT (for me!) But these things don't bring happiness. Not the happiness that leads to a fufilled life. Not the happiness that we long for so much. We look, but we never seem to find that true inner peace. We find things that satisfy for a while, but boredome soon takes over. If our car has leather seats, we soon want "heated" leather seats. And so it goes with the "Pursuit of Happiness". But during this adoption process I have learned a "really big" (as David Lipe would say) truth: When we try to persue what will make "us" happy, we eventually nose-dive. But when we forget about "us" for a while and find something more interesting and important to do, happiness (like the cat) will soon be in our face. The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians at Phillippi- "Each of you should look not only at your own interests, but also the interests of others (Phil 2:4). He was basically telling them that "they" weren't the only ones to be concerned with. Putting yourself and what makes "you happy" first is not the formula for happiness or contentment in life. He went on to write that "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is like to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Phil 4:12). I think this was not only meant to change them, but meant to change us. He (through God) was telling us a little secret that they don't tell you in $230 self-help conferences. If you want to find happiness, stop worring about what makes you happy and give yourself to the service of others. Go out of your way to be a servant. We can all do it and everyone's roll is different. It won't gain you points in the social circles and people will never ask for you autograph, but you will find happiness and peace when you forget you are looking for them. Gi Gi Dahl Smith has taught me what it is to be happy. Funny thing is that I've been so busy, I forgot that I was even looking. -Phil

No comments:

Post a Comment