On Happiness and Rare Beauty

It’s 3:00am. I can’t sleep. When I can’t sleep, I typically work or read and I don’t seem to be able to muster the motivation or inspiration to do any more work today, so I picked up Sam Storms’ One Thing: Developing a Passion for the Beauty of God and read three chapters before I realized what had happened.

When I speak of human happiness i’m not talking about physical comfort or a six-figure salary or emotional stability or the absence of conflict or sexual gratification or any such earthly or temporal achievement. That’s not to say such things are inherently wrong. In their proper place they may well be expressions of divine benevolence. But we greatly err if they become foundational to human happiness. We should be grateful for them, but happiness is still within our grasp despite their absence.

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately, so this is well-timed reading. I’ve been wondering how I define happiness, what makes me happy, and what things I look towards the future with expectation, wondering if they’ll make me happy. (Big questions for such a small brain, to be honest.) A few reoccurring thoughts are beginning to camp out in my head, and i’m sure i’ll attempt to flesh them out more soundly over the coming weeks as they sift to the surface and (hopefully) take coherent shape. 

One of those thoughts is the struggle to balance and keep in check rival pleasures. Even from the friendly confines of this office (where I spend the bulk of most of my days as shut off from people and interaction as I choose to be) i’m bombarded by hundreds of different things competing for my attention, offering the answers to all my problems, whispering promises that can never be kept, and presenting themselves as the cure for what ails me. I don’t think I know how to juggle all of that most of the time and it pisses me off.

The other thought, which is inextricably linked to the first, is the search for what i’ve been referring to in my journaling as “rare beauty.” I try my best to be a person who pays attention, listens, observes, and savors what’s happening around me. I have such a natural tendency to zone out (or is it zone IN? I can’t keep up) and completely miss the events of my life as they’re unfolding, so I want to be disciplined and intentional about LOOKING. Which leads to the enivetable question, “What are you looking FOR?” 

And i’m not sure. But I know it’s not common. I can’t quantify it (much to my own dismay, I assure you), I can’t even describe it most of the time… what it is or what about it separates it from everything else, but I want rare beauty. Presciousness is what i’m after. I see it in glimpses and i’m tired of letting it slip away. I want to find it and enjoy it and savor it in my life and experiences. I want to be discerning enough to see it in people so that I can begin to pour my life out in relationship and know how to be wise in that pursuit (perhaps without being so overly cautious and introspective and analyzing all the time.)

And right now, I want to go to bed. More. Soon.