Life’s treasures can’t be bought

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 28, 2004

If you were to pose to a number of people at random the question, &uot;What does it take to make you happy in life,&uot; I bet you’d get some interesting answers.

A little girl might say happiness is getting the newest Barbie doll complete with a new wardrobe. A teenager might say driving the sports car of his dreams – with that pretty blonde beside him -would make him the ‘King of the World’.

Of course, a child can be enormously fickle. The doll she adores today might be replaced with a yearning for the latest toy to hit the market tomorrow.

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Sports cars can be totaled in accidents; cute young things can decide they like somebody else a little better. Clothes go out of style; stuff gets lost, stolen; valuables are destroyed by fire and storm.

For a country that includes &uot;pursuit of happiness&uot; as one of its citizens’ God-given rights, we still don’t quite know how to do it right.

We think the pursuit of happiness is accumulation of things: a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood, the latest designer handbag (&uot;ugly as sin but it’s couture, darling&uot;), a new SUV with stereo speakers loud enough to blow off the doors and a TV monitor for every passenger, a phone that takes pictures, sends text-messages, serves a an alarm clock, calculator and daily planner (rumor has it,

you can actually make a phone call with it, too.)

These things may make us more comfortable and give us a certain prestige (not to mention supplying new gadgets to satisfy the child inside), but they don’t necessarily make us happy, do they?

After all, we have to have insurance to cover the loss of our possessions, safes to store them away, perhaps burglar alarms to ward off any would-be robbers.

There are people who daily live in fear of having their possessions taken from them, &uot;losing their soul in order to gain the world.&uot;

That doesn’t sound like happiness to me; it sounds more like imprisonment.

If you asked people what the happiest moments of their lives had been, it probably wouldn’t be the new car, the living room suite or any other material &uot;stuff&uot;. I think it would go something like this:

&uot;Hearing my grandchild say, &uot;Grandma&uot; for the first time.&uot;

&uot;The satisfaction of teaching my students how to read.&uot;

&uot;Going on a regular date with my sweetie – of forty years.&uot;

&uot;Remembering the fun times my brothers and sisters had together. We didn’t have much money, but used our imaginations and had the best time anyway!&uot;

Life is made rich by sharing, serving, loving and laughing. You can’t buy such things on QVC, the Home Shopping Network or even E-Bay.

Angie Long is a Lifestyles writer and columnist for The Greenville Advocate. She may be contacted at home by phone at 382-5145 or (best bet!) by e-mail at