Living the Good Life
We all want to enjoy the blessings and benefits of "the good life". The Good Life, however, is not what most people think. It is kind of like 'finding your soul mate'. That one special individual that will share your interests, challenge your intellect, be fun, be beautiful and accept you for who you are. Truth be told, your real soul mates are your children, who can push your buttons like no one else, who frustrate you, disappoint you, but also bring you joy and satisfaction. Through these soul mates you develop patience, humility, longsuffering (which I believe is spiritual stamina), and a whole list of other virtues that you would not obtain otherwise.
Back to The Good Life. The good life, it turns out is not the easy life. It is not the life of one trip after another in exotic locations. The good life is not filled with wealth and privilege. Nor is it free from pain and sorrow. The Good Life is also the hard life. Fraught with challenges and sleepless nights. It is life with imperfect people that we deeply love. It is wiping tears and mending broken hearts. The Good Life is a life of selfless devotion. It is a life of giving and service. It is not about "what's in it for me" or having every want and need gratified. It is more about following the subtle promptings of the quiet spirit, we have each been endowed with, doing as much good in the world as we can.
It is only when we step out of the realm of me, that we can see that real happiness comes as we bless the lives of others. This is so contrary to what is taught through modern philosophies and the media. It seems the media and 'the powers that be', would have us all become self-absorbed, pleasure-seeking, shortsighted consumers whining for our entitlements. This is not the path you were meant to follow.
In this good life of yours, this hard life of yours, you may not always enjoy good health. You will have to devote some time to getting healthy and keeping healthy. We learn that eating whole natural foods prepared as God and Nature intended will bring us a greater degree of health and well-being. Following the easy path of convenience and fast foods that stimulate the tastes buds will rob our bodies of vitality and health. We learn that there are rarely shortcuts in the good life. That winning the lottery rarely is a blessing. And that the easy way is usually the wrong way.
I teach most of my patients, you did not sign up for the easy life. You signed up for the hard life. The one with heartache and challenges. The life that will thunder you to your knees pleading for strength and guidance. The life that cannot be lived alone, but will require the help of those you love. The life devoted to care and kindness. A life of compassion and humility. The good life, if we allow it, will knock off our hard edges. If we choose to learn and grow and bless the lives of all who are within our realm of influence, the good life is often the hard life. Unfortunately the hard life, if we choose, can also lead to anger and bitterness. Like so many things in life, it all boils down to how we choose to internalize what life gives us. Stepping stones or stumbling blocks.
Yes, life is hard. Mine is and I suspect yours is too. It usually does not turned out as planned. But life is good. Through our challenges and trial, we can learn to love deeply and in turn be loved. It is not all about me. As we strive to do what is right by following the divine spirit that whispers to each of our hearts, we can make the lives of others a little bit better and through so doing tie our hearts and lives to theirs in an ever growing sphere of love, friendship and influence.
My challenge to you today is to understand that you choose the good life, but also understand that it is the hard life. Choose to buck up and buckle down and choose the right. If you need to, put aside your own appetites and passions in favor of blessing the lives of those which have been put within your circle of influence. Yes, life is hard. But through the hardships, there is peace and happiness and a deep and abiding joy. The Good Life.
Dr. Kyle ChristensenJanuary 2012