Happiness Comes From Knowing You Have to Give it All Back

We’re coming into the fall here in Cape Breton, and I’m sitting in a park writing, watching the leaves fall off the trees. The trees have worked since spring to grow those leaves, now they have to let the leaves go. To keep the leaves throughout the harsh storms of the next seasons would be to nearly guarantee that the trees would be blown over and die.

Your hands can only hold so much water, and the water you are able to hold dribbles out of your hands pretty quickly.

Roman Emporer Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) wrote in his journal,

For such as it is to have once drawn in the air and to have given it back, which we do every moment, just the same is it with the whole respiratory power, which you received at your birth yesterday and the day before, to give it back to the element from which you first drew it.

Now old Marcus had a flowery way of saying things. Let me simplify it a little bit.

We have to give everything back – even the air we breathe.

King Solomon of ancient Israel said it this way,

“All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”Ecc 3:20

You can pump as much iron and run as many laps around the track as you want to stay fit (and you should), but in the end, you’ll be giving that body back.

You can gather as much money and as many things as you can stuff into your bank account and home, but you’ll not be able to hold onto them after death.

So, the question arises…

If we have to give it back, is it real?

One wise man said, “If it does not last, it is not real.”

Those individuals that are hyper-focused on gathering money, things, fame, influence, etc. are bound to be disappointed when what they are so focused on chasing slips through their fingers like sand in an hourglass.

What Does Last? What is Real? What Don’t I Have to Give Back?

  1. Experiences – Nobody can take your memories away from you. Yes, disease may rob you of your mind, but those experiential memories will return and remain with us in the next life. (Read the Bible story for proof of this in Luke 16:19-31)
  2. Relationship with Our Creator – Because God is an eternal being, the relatioship that we are building with Him now is one that will last into eternity. The question is, what kind of relationship are you building with Him?
  3. Assistance to Others – One of the ways we live on is through our contributions to individuals around us and society as a whole. What we do for others (physically, emotionally, spiritually) is one thing that we don’t have to give back. It’s the intangible part of our gravestone – there for all time.

What Do We Learn?

Our happiness can’t be rooted in what we will have to give back. The trees work all summer to grow leaves, just to drop them in the fall. We work, earn money, gather things, and gain the respect/admiration of others. Eventually, we lose it or are forced to give it all away.

Happy people are those that understand that most of what we experience on this earth is temporary at best. Wise people don’t anchor their boat of “happy” to the things they are not able to keep.

Until next time, have a happy day.

* I cannot recommend every artist, author, or everything written in every book I mention in my blog. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and where a person or book is right or makes a good point, I will give credit where credit is due.

Before the box