May they never be lonely at parties
Or wait for mail from people they haven’t written
Or still in middle age ask God for favors
Or forbid their children things they were never forbidden.
May hatred be like a habit they never developed
And can’t see the point of, like gambling or heavy drinking.
If they forget themselves, may it be in music
Or the kind of prayer that makes a garden of thinking.
May they enter the coming century
Like swans under a bridge into enchantment
And take with them enough of this century
To assure their grandchildren it really happened.
May they find a place to love, without nostalgia
For some place else that they can never go back to.
And may they find themselves, as we have found them,
Complete at each stage of their lives, each part they add to.
May they be themselves, long after we’ve stopped watching.
May they return from every kind of suffering
(Except the last, which doesn’t bear repeating)
And be themselves again, both blessed and blessing.
—Mark Jarman, from To the Green Man
In honor of the 22nd birthday of my daughter, Remy Choate Davis, who has been for many both blessed and blessing.
In celebration of the launch of my new book happy are those: ancient wisdom for modern life Amazon is giving away free copies to the first 20 people who respond to this giveaway!
I hope you get a free copy, (and hope if you miss the cut you’ll consider splurging on one anyway). This little guidebook is making my heart sing and I do so want to share the joy!
My new book happy are those is now LIVE for Kindle (or any e-reader)! It’s short (you can read it in an hour or so), it’s small (the paperback—which will be out by the end of the month—lays flat in your hand), and it’s filled with wisdom that’s been around long before you or I, and will be around long after we’re gone.
With so many of us starved for answers about how to navigate this thing called life, of how to find happiness in it, of how to live the life we were meant for, I thought that talking through this old poem called the first psalm (aka The Two Ways of Living) would be helpful. If you get a chance to read it—and I really hope that you do—I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you buy it now, you’ll have plenty of time to read before kick-off Sunday!
In a few weeks, I’ll be releasing my new book on Kindle. This small guidebook contains all the best wisdom I have about how to navigate this thing called life. Here’s a sneak peak at the opening pages…
Just say the word and you can feel it in your very bones, the presence or the absence of it: happy. Happiness is tied to the human heart, the human spirit, and the universal human search for the meaning of life. For most of human history, happy was intimately tethered to the wisdom of God, but today psychology and philosophy have stepped in to help us discover the root truths of happiness free from the burden of faith.
Martin Seligman, a leading 21st-century researcher in positive psychology describes happiness as having three parts: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. Pleasure is the “feel good” part of happiness. Engagement refers to living a “good life” of work, family, friends, and hobbies. Meaning refers to using our strengths to contribute to a larger purpose—to making an impact for good in the world. Seligman says that all three are important, but that of the three, engagement and meaning make the most difference in living a happy life.
With all this clarity about the nature of happiness it’s curious, then, that our modern era is so filled with people suffering from depression, anxiety, isolation, despair, hopelessness, purposelessness, and feelings of deep insignificance. Maybe our love of individualism has made healthy engagement in community impossible. Maybe the sea of competitiveness we’ve created for ourselves to swim in has forced meaning to the back burner. Or perhaps we’ve been extracting happiness more from pleasure than engagement or meaning, undermining all three. How many of us find ourselves overdoing some “guilty pleasure” until it starts creating more guilt, boredom, or destruction than delight?
The road to happiness was never easy, but it was always clear.
A year ago today, I had the honor of giving a talk at the wedding of a couple who I’ve grown close to over the past few years. The bride, Tina, teaches core connection/pilates/cardio line dancing classes at the Culver-Palms YMCA. Joy and inclusion seem to spill out of her heart, creating ever widening circles of love in our weekly workout family, which now includes an annual potluck celebration of love at my house every January. This talk meant a great deal to me because it allowed me to speak to their courtship, struggles, and the beauty and truth of marriage. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing how God works in and through people that they may grow in the knowledge of him.
(click to watch)