All this is part of happiness
There is a whimsical sentence from Kin Hubbard which says: “It’s pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an’ wealth have both failed.” 1 Beginnings—endings—more beginnings—with a need always to define what we are looking for, with all of us perhaps endowed with a measure of discontent—a discontent that sometimes seems to be burden, but often proves to be a blessing. “Restlessness,” said Thomas Edison, “is discontent, and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” To be on our way toward some good goal, in peace, and with a quiet conscience—all this is part of happiness, but not the kind of contentment that is smugly satisfied, and not with the gnawing kind of worry that frets about everything that could ever happen, for much of what we worry about never does. All of us have our worries, our problems, disappointments, frustrations; our wondering how well we are using this life we live—wanting to do well with it, wondering what is worthwhile, seeing injustice, having unanswered questions, needing faith, seeing only part of the picture. But with honest repentance, improvement, and a sense of being on our way toward something better, we can balance content and discontent with patience and faith, knowing that there is an eternal plan and purpose, even though from hour to hour and day to day we see only an incomplete picture. As Francis Quarles said it:
We have to do what we can, where we are, with what we have—and not expect all answers here and now, but wait until the play progresses. Happiness is to use life well—with faith for the future.
“The desire to be appreciated”
“The deepest hunger in human beings,” said William James, “is the desire to be appreciated.” A wife, a mother, can put up with faults and imperfections—with inadequate income, disappointments, difficult conditions—if there is kindness, consideration, appreciation. A father can work and worry, meet problems, debts, discouragement, and face the world, if there is kindness, consideration, and appreciation. A teacher can try harder to teach and labor patiently and long, if there is willingness to learn—and appreciation. A worker can work longer and do better if there is encouragement and appreciation. We can be driven by others only so far, but we can drive ourselves much further, if we feel there is fairness and appreciation. This is true in marriage, in the home, between parents and children, in business, and in all relationships of life. Hearts are broken, lives are blighted with unkindness. Talents and creative gifts are squelched and stifled without encouragement and appreciation. Children can be made to feel as nothing, and go nowhere and learn little, and young people never fulfill their possibilities, except for encouragement and praise and appreciation. A person can drive, exhort, intimidate, threaten, yet never realize the results that fairness and appreciation will produce. It isn’t the work of life that so much wears us away as the frictions and frustrations: not being noticed, not being recognized, not being appreciated, not being kindly considered. Men shrink with fear, withdraw from coldness, and with unkindness harden or break their hearts; but with kindness, encouragement, appreciation there can be peace and blessing in the home, satisfaction in service, and happiness in the heart. In this time of frustrations and too many tensions, let there be a renewal of appreciation for people, with loved ones coming closer, with families caring and encouraging, and with kindness, encouragement, appreciation for all that others do to lighten and lift the load of life. “The deepest hunger in human beings is the desire to be appreciated.”