DEAR GO: The other day, while watching an old Andy Hardy movie on TCM, I picked up on this quote by Judge Hardy, Andy’s (Mickey Rooney) father, “I’ve never known a human being who’s learned anything of value from happiness, that’s why troubles are so important in this world.”
I can’t seem to get away from this statement...nothing of value from happiness? I can’t wrap my head around it! — Miffed
Dear Miffed: I get your perplexity. Judge Hardy was, most likely, relating the fleeting nature of happiness with the lasting virtues of joy. Happiness tends to be fickle and short lived e.g. the lip smacking kiss of puppy love. Joy finds it moorings in a deeper place of (often painful) experience.
Though the young man never forgets the first kiss on the cheek from the girl he first flip-flopped over, there is truly, nothing of lasting value from the encounter. Not like the painful embrace of a young couple who suddenly lost a child from a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting. The gut wrenching, shuddering, and excruciating embrace often becomes a point of reference, a place of true human (spirit) connection.
Agreed, it is often urgent to find something that brings momentary happiness e.g. a Hershey bar, a night out with the guys/girls, a Sunday afternoon football game, or a brisk walk around the park, it is important to cling to the things that will ultimately being us lasting joy.
Joy is, according to Weaver: a triumphant place of peace in the midst of turbulence and turmoil. — GO
Kevin Weaver is a chaplain and has a degree in pastoral counseling and thanatology. To submit for the column or for more questions, email email@example.com