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God and Happiness (Part 1 of 3)

August 5, 2021

When I was in medical school, I was part of a Catholic church group that met every week. There was a cause they wanted to bring to the public eye and, as a group, we decided to make a pamphlet.

Since I had the best organizational skills at the time, I volunteered to design the pamphlet. Everyone would e-mail me their thoughts and I would assimilate it into something readable.

Most of the people thought the pamphlet was good, got the job done. But the leader of the Church Group asked the opinion of someone outside the group. This individual was very intelligent and very well respected in the Catholic social circle. This individual did not like the pamphlet at all and recommended an entire re-vamp.

A second meeting was scheduled. Everyone was invited. But it ended up just being the leader, the outsider, one other person and myself. We would then work on the pamphlet.

The main problem the outsider had about the pamphlet was that he believed it was too “superficial”. I had spent a third of the pamphlet describing the issue. He stated, “The real issue is that true Happiness comes from following God.”

I interjected. I said, “I’m not so sure about that. You don’t follow God to be happy. That was never really the promise in the Bible.” He then replied, “That’s nonsense.” I then cited, “Was Jesus happy when he was dying on the cross?” He then replied…

“Jesus was the MOST happy when he was on the cross…”

I was rather astonished. From there, I simply responded, “It seems we’re using a very different definition of happiness, one that our target audience would not quite understand.” The outsider’s response was, “Our definition is the true definition.”

I was taken aback and I let them design the pamphlet without too much input.

I thought about that statement between Happiness and Jesus dying on the cross. I asked the priest a week later what his thoughts were. His answer was, “wow, that’s a deep question worth talking over a beer.” I never got a chance to have that beer. But the question still lingered on.

I’m not going to discuss whose pamphlet was better. That’s not the purpose of this story. But if you want to know about the aftermath, the group eventually ended for other reasons. I had left before then. However, it sets the stage for a critical question for High Performers wanting a close connection with a Higher Power: What is the relationship between God and Happiness?

Dr. Eric

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