20 April 2007

Serious Happiness

Read this today--

It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. --Eccl. 6:2-3 (cf. Mt 5:4)

Though to the world (particularly the Western world?) these words are incomprehensible, I find a strange comfort in them. I know what it is like to be the only one in a room not laughing and cracking jokes and yet be (I suspect) the happiest one there. Could it be that those most miserable on the inside are those most prone to cover it up with frivolous jokes that never reach the heart? I think this is what Lewis meant when he said, in the last book of the Narnia series in a chapter called "Further Up and Further In," that "there is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes."

Some of my happiest moments are those filled with solemnity and even, I think, with tears.


ErinOrtlund said...

Very insightful. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have always found graveyards to be fascinating, solemnizing, dignifying and attractive.


Dane Ortlund said...

There's a Jewish cemetary next to us where I sometimes take walks to review my sermons (including yesterday). It helps to prepare to preach amidst dead people.