Sunday, September 30, 2012
Happiness vs. Joy
The Happiness Project is one of my favorite books. I read it a while ago, and I've since bought copies for our libraries (one copy just this week, but that's another blog post). I really like the practical tips that author Gretchen Rubin gives for improving your life. I read her blog sporadically, and have now added it, rightfully, on my favorites list here. She has a new book out, Happier at Home, which I have on my "To Read" list. All that said, I've always been slightly bothered by the quest for happiness that lies behind her writing. As Christians, our own happiness isn't (or shouldn't be) our goal. So I was delighted when I was checking her blog today and found that she had a "Happiness Interview" with another one of my favorite authors, Heather King. (Their connection is that both are fans of St. Therese of Lisieux.) Heather beautifully lays out the case for what true happiness is for the Christian, and how that contrasts with happiness as an end in itself. The short interview is a penetrating look at Christian joy. At the same time, so much of what is in The Happiness Project (both the book and the blog) is simply commonsense (but rarely heard) advice on how to live better. Very little of it claims a specific spiritual outlook, and the tips given could be applied to almost anyone, in any station of life. There's a great deal to be said for practical advice on daily living, and rather than turning my focus inward ("What makes me happy?"), I've found that the suggestions she gives allow me to better manage my work and home life, making everyone around me a little happier in the long run. And I hope that's a small part of the service that's at the heart of the Christian life.
Posted by Michelene Orteza at 6:46 PM