Monday, January 16, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - January 16
Content to Be Happy
You can make your life what you want. There are various ways of being happy. Why do we drive ourselves on with illusory demands? Happy only when we conform to something that is said to be a legitimate happiness? An approved happiness?
God gives us the freedom to create our own lives, according to His will, that is to say in the circumstances in which He has placed us. But we refuse to be content unless we realize in ourselves a "universal" standard, a happiness hypothetically prescribed and approved for all men of all time, and not just our own happiness. This, at least, is what I do. I am a happy person, and God has given me happiness, but I am guilty about it--as if being happy were not quite allowed, as if everybody didn't have it within reach somehow or other--and as if I had to justify God Himself by being zealous for something I do not and cannot have--because I am not happy in the same way as Pericles--or Kruschev.
January 21, 1961, IV.89