We recently had a good friend visit us from our days of living in Southern California (San Diego.) It was nice to see how we were the same in so many ways and the comfort level was just as it was 10 years ago. However, there were clearly many areas where there was a lot of change also. Our friend was in search for answers, reassurance, and comfort. Even though she didn't come out and say it, she was really searching for the truth. She is a Christian, and appears to have a relationship with God. One evening we had a talk that lead to philosophical and theological thoughts and sharing of ideas.
We came to the conclusion that so many people, Good People, have no concept of living a life that is based on giving. (Giving of themselves entirely to their spouse, giving themselves entirely to their friends, their family, their vocation, etc.)
So many people are so focused on existing purely to feel pleasure and to receive stimulating sensations. These same people go through life striving toward something, something that each time they obtain it, find pleasure, but then are left feeling empty. So what do they do? They set their sites on another pleasurable thing, strive toward it, gain access, and then temporarily enjoy it, only to be left again unfulfilled.
If they only understood that to truly find joy, pleasure, and fulfillment, one must seek to give, not to receive. It is in the act of unselfish and sustained acts of giving that one can be free of the shackles of self-centered desires.
There is such a conflict with living a life that is centered on charity (love), and the life that our society continues to attempt to teach us through movies, TV shows, modern culture (a life to seek pleasure through obtaining things, satisfying our own personal needs always with priority over other's needs, etc.)
I feel such sorrow for those that are looking for truth, happiness, and Joy, in all the wrong places. Their hearts are in search of something that is true, but their minds just cannot comprehend how to obtain it.
It is in concentrating a focus of losing, not obtaining, that the true gift is obtained. One must lose their pride to gain humility. One must lose their self-centeredness to gain a sense of charity. One must lose their over-bearing perceived need for physical stimulation to gain a greater sustained sensation of joy that is carried deep in the soul.
I pray for my special friend that she receives the grace of God to see clearly the truth of our lives, and to live a life that is truly joy filled.