“Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.” -Russell H. Conwell
I once heard the story of a man who walked into a travel agency and requested information for a cruise. “Where to?” he was asked. “I’m not really sure,” was his reply. The agent handed him a map of the world and proceeded to unfold it front of him. The customer took a good look at the map examining it from a number of angles. Finally, with a look of frustration, he looked up at the agent and exclaimed, “Is this all you have to offer?”
I often fear too many of our lives resemble this interaction. We search for happiness, fulfillment, and meaning. But we have seen this world and culture from all different angles. We have seen what it has to offer. And have found it is not enough to fully satisfy. We have searched for happiness in a number of its greatest offerings and have found most of them lacking – or at the very least, fleeting.
- We have searched for happiness in a bigger paycheck… only to discover we immediately desired an even bigger one.
- We have searched for happiness in a job promotion or recognition… only to discover the accolades don’t last.
- We have searched for happiness in bigger homes… only to discover they are accompanied by burdensome mortgage payments.
- We have searched for happiness in fancier cars… only to discover they get scratches and dings just like the others.
- We have searched for happiness in alcohol and drugs and sex… only to discover the pleasure has disappeared by morning.
- We have searched for happiness in large savings accounts… only to discover money can’t solve all our problems.
- We have searched for happiness in the pursuit of our dreams… only to discover there are just more dreams on the other side.
Eventually, like Solomon in the Bible, we discover we’ve only been chasing the wind. We realize lasting happiness can’t be found in any of these things. And we are left with this simple, nagging question in the back of our mind, “Is this all that the world has to offer?”
Surely, lasting happiness and fulfillment can be found somewhere. There is something deep inside telling us that pursuing happiness is not an entirely futile endeavor. We just need to start looking in the right places.
Lasting happiness is found in faith, love, and relationships. It can be discovered in character, integrity, and service towards others. And the sooner we discover true fulfillment is only found in giving our lives to another, the sooner we can stop chasing happiness in the wind.