Witnessing Happiness

Jana saw this on our friend Matt's Facebook feed. Too good not to share. Resonates with why I practice my own faith.


What does he get in return for doing this everyday?

He gets nothing.
He won't be richer.
He won't appear on TV.
Still anonymous and not a bit more famous.

What he does receive are emotions.
He witnesses happiness.
Reaches a deeper understanding.
Feels the love.
Receives what money can't buy.
A world made more beautiful.

And in your life?
What is it that you desire most?


The phrase "he gets emotions" reminds me of the argument made by Francis Spufford in his book Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense, one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's the "emotional sense" that sits behind my religious sensibilities.

I also resonate with the aesthetic frame of "a world made more beautiful."

Finally, I love the connection of how a religiously disciplined life of kenostic self-giving, in this case Buddhism, allows us to "witness happiness."

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2 thoughts on “Witnessing Happiness”

  1. The line, "Still anonymous and not a bit more famous", reminds me of the "person unknown" who paid the dinner tab for a skinny, nineteen year old Air Force Airman. It was 1969, in the Medford, Oregon Airport, where I had just finished my dinner in the Air Port Restaurant. I waited for the check, which never came. I finally went up to the register where I told the lady that I needed to pay for my meal. She said, "No, bother; its been taken care of". I thought she had me confused with another table. I said, "No, I was sitting over there, by myself". She replied, I know; its taken care of." "Who", I asked. "That's not important", she said. She must have noticed my puzzlement, so she said again, "Really, its OK".

    Over the years I have tried to repay that thoughtful act in different ways. But I never feel that it has been totally repaid. And I think the reason being is that the person never announced it. That in itself made it divine.

  2. "For it is in giving thst we receive." (St. Francis).
    Just finished reading Kathrine Frank's biography of peerless nineteenth century African explorer Mary Kingsley, A Voyager Out. Kingsley died nursing wounded Boer soldiers in a makeshift British army hospital. She hated the war with all its sorted colonial trappings. Mary Kingsley was buried at sea off the coast of the continent she truly loved....by her own request...at age 37.

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