Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

The Pursuit of Happyness

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 31, 2010

Originally, I thought to entitle this entry, “Looking Back by Looking Forward by Looking Back by Looking Forward by Looking Back by Looking Forward.” However, as I briefly pondered the title, working it as I might, it occurred to me to borrow the title from a 2006 biographical motion picture which story continues to resonate within me, for I can identify so very well with the struggles of the character whom is portrayed – “The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring Will Smith, as Chris Gardner.

Having read Walden of my own volition while in high school (it was not required reading), I find this passage oddly apropos again, 30 years later.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped  but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

- Henry David Thoreau, 1854, in “Walden,” the chapter entitled “Economy”

As we enter into this New Year, some of us enter it with joy, anon with trepidation, fear, uncertainty, insecurity, health, happiness (happyness?), joy, family, friends, alone, together, separated, unified, impoverished, wealthy, loving, loved, pitied, sullied, angry, isolated, indifferent, and a veritable host of conditions, feelings and emotions.

As a former Protestant Christian (I am no longer protesting or rebelling and have “Come Home to Rome, Never More To Roam” – i.e., I have become Catholic), I was taught to pooh-pooh circumstance, situation and luck, asserting instead that they were “the work of the Devil,” and to “pull myself up by my own bootstraps.” That if I could think it, I could do it, that I am the master of my own fate.

Frankly folks, that’s utter BULLSHIT! (DID I SAY IT LOUD ENOUGH?!?)

For those of you whom can’t read or hear, I repeat: THAT’S UTTER BULLSHIT!!

Why?

Allow me to refer you to this exchange I had with a friend on FaceBook.

Friend:
If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. 
Zig Ziglar

THM:
I love Zig Ziglar!!! Have you read, “See You At The Top?” My Dad got me to read this years ago.

Me:
Ol’ Zig rode that pony to the top, didn’t he? Very entertaining. Speaker’s fees, books, etc.

Friend:
If you liked See You at the Top Let. You Should Read Bob Harringtons ” It’s Fun Being Successful and It’s Fun Being Saved. Also find a book call ” Who Moved my Cheese” This Little book is a great gift to anyone who has lost a job. I also Suggest you write on the inside cover. ” This book Should be payed forward and given to someone that has lost a Job recently. Pass it on.

Me:
Of course, it was prolly’ God that made him rich, not himself. Problem with that is, the corollary is that God makes others poor. And if wealth is good, poverty is bad… the same kind of warped theology that plagued the early church, and about which Paul wrote to Timothy. And yet, God makes us all.

RH:
Zig Ziglar is an awesome motivational speaker.

Me:
The point I’m making is that the ideas expressed in his books – and others like them – are not laws; they are not never-fail, fool-proof, always-work laws. Gravity is one such example of a never-fail, fool-proof, always-work law. If one person followed to the ‘T’ every suggestion Zig and others like him made, and they worked… why, those writers would be gods! Fact is, they’re not. As the wise writer of Ecclesiastes wrote so many years ago, “…time and chance happen to them all.” cf.9:11 (NIV)

“Time and chance happen to them all.”

And so my friends, my dear readers, my unknown audience… As I compose these words, we’re nearly 45 minutes away from New Year, and along with you, hope it’s a good one, without any fear.

And in the immortal words of Charles Dickens‘ “A Christmas Carol” character Tiny Tim…

God Bless us, every one!”

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2 Responses to “The Pursuit of Happyness”

  1. John Wilder said

    I have been right with you until this post when you siad that you became a Catholic. As an avowed ex Catholic and believing Christian, I find it odd that you made such a conversion. I started studying the bible for myself and found that about 90% of catholic doctirine is in direct CONTRADICTION to biblical teachings.

    Not to mention that I was one of hundreds of thousands of kids sexually abused by a catholic priest.

    John Wilder

    • Warm Southern Breeze said

      Hi John! It’s good to hear from you again! I do appreciate your readership. First, I am genuinely sad to read of your suffering and tragedy. There is simply no excuse for what happened to you, or to other innocents. As deeply tragic as your childhood emotional injury is, there is healing – as I’m certain you already know. An integral part of healing – and one that simply cannot be ignored – is an understanding of the nature of forgiveness; for we too, we all, are in desperate need of a savior. Our own forgiveness is predicated – as the LORD said – by our own ability to forgive. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Regarding the claim that “about 90% of Catholic doctrine is in direct contradiction to Biblical teachings,” that’s a rather broad brush, and hence, difficult – if not impossible – to address, much less understand precisely and exactly which “Biblical teachings” are “in direct contradiction,” as you assert. Let’s address a few topics point-by-point in another, separate entry, shall we?

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