By Ernest O'Neill

Earthly Sources of Happiness are Limited

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

It’s as if God is saying, “You come to a place of reality where you see that there IS no truth in all those things.”  “Yes, the chocolate chip cookie gives me a momentary satisfaction, or water skiing gives me a little bit of a thrill, or having a nice conversation with people gives me a little enjoyment” -- but eventually, you come to the place where you say, “No, I’ve experienced those things before.  There is a limit to how deep those can go inside me.  There’s a limit to what happiness those things can bring me.  No, all of that is meaningless.”

People pass away.  Conversations pass away.  Indeed, the little bit of excitement or interest that I get from those, I can see that it’s just temporary.  It’s just a little kick.  It’s just a little thrill.  It just passes.  If you said to me, “Do you mean that we would ever come to a place where we’re kind of bored with all those things?”  Irene [my wife] and I often joked about George Saunders.  He was a British film star who was very smooth, a very smooth sophisticated gentlemen.  He did everything just smoothly.  He always had the flowers for the lady and always handed her the drinks in the right way.  And of course, as I would tumble over something or be clumsy about something, or as I would go into a restaurant and either hold Irene’s chair or know what the waiter was saying to me or not, I would say, “Yeah, George Saunders all over again!”   But eventually when he died, Irene quoted what they said in the newspaper -- he said, “I’m so bored with life.”  And of course, to us it seemed dreadful because we don’t think he said it from the point of view of belief in God at all.  We thought it was a tragedy.  The man had spent maybe his whole life – it’s not fair to judge him -- but maybe he’d spent a lot of his life on the surface, or enjoying what the world calls “happiness”.