Friday, July 29, 2011

Irritable Scowl Syndrome

Some Blogs I post are for my children’s benefit as well as my own.  This one is a warning for them.

“False happiness is like false money; it passes for a long time as well as the true, and serves some ordinary occasions; but when it is brought to the touch, we find the lightness and alloy, and feel the loss.” – Alexander Pope

     False Happiness is usually symptoms of a greater issue.  A person who exudes this type of character trait has a great knack of also being a false friend.  Underneath what they try and portray as a super mega friendly attitude is the same heart that beats in the rest of us mere mortals. 

     I recently have run into what would consider an obstacle of disappointing proportions.  Someone who I once considered a friend has gone small lengths to be a backbiting selfish mouthy comment making individual.  The problem is, and I am sure most of you have some experience in this, is the public persona of this person is so accepted as a happy supportive person.  In fact, everyone tells them how great they are with being so happy.  Like a set of groupies who enjoy telling them how happy they are all the time.

     This personality type must find an outlet to show its true colors.  Most of the time it is overly dismissive of individuals they think are so opposite of them.  When in reality they never had an opportunity to examine themselves.  To discover that the personality traits of people they say they despise are actually their own.
     Sometimes, it’s good to have your self image shattered once in a while.
     When I was a kid, a scene from The Never Ending Story stuck with me.  I mean, aside from the super cool flying Dragon Falkor.  The hero Atreju of the story had to pass trials and gates to carry on with his quest.  A discussion was had about a second gate that Atreju would cross:

Scientist - The worst one is coming up. Next is the magic mirror gate. Atreju has to face his true self.
Falkor - So what, that won't be too hard for him.
Scientist - Ohhh!!! That's what everyone thinks. Kind people find that they are cruel, brave men discover that they are really cowards. Confronted with their true selves, most men run away screaming!

     Sometimes these individuals never figure out that their comments or facial expressions give them away.  The façade falls when they tire of keeping up appearances.

You might think “Hey, what do you have against happy people?!”
Nothing, I applaud people who can enjoy happy events.  I myself have had many happy events.  From my children being born, to phone calls from old friends and children giving hugs.  Good stuff like that.

The problem is happy events are not sustainable.  Joy is, we will address that later, but happy isn’t.

Recently my wife and I had the chance to work with 2nd and 3rd graders for almost a week and three days into it, a small girl who has had an already rough life looked up to my wife and said “What if you were my mommy?”  My wife turned to her and said “Well, then you would be coming home with me.” 

The little girl smiled.

I recalled this event on the way to work the next day and cried for half an hour.

Now that isn’t cynical or sarcastic.  That’s reality.  And for the fake happy person they can carry on with the existence they set for themselves and never give that child another thought.

She is in my prayers every night now.  I am 2 days away from getting her address and I will be burned alive if I am going to let that little girl think we have forgotten her.

How can you tell if you are one of these people?  That’s easy.  If your reality of happiness is the 2 feet around you then you may want to look in the mirror.

I have met people who have been given a position of influence over others, a “look Up to” position, and when another opportunity presented itself they abandoned scores of individuals.  If you brought this up to them you are labeled critical.

Moving forward to what should be the focus is actually joy in life.  To a Christian joy is a shared, confidant and ever increasing trait.  It’s given to us at the conception of our belief and grows the more we grow in our understanding of Christ and what he has done for us.

But, since we deal in reality, Christians are people too.  We always don’t get things right.  The ability to slip back into out old ways or to confuse a fake happiness for joy can occur at any moment.  The caution is to make sure we are being truthful with ourselves whether we are sharing a true joy with others, or if the façade is just hiding the scowl of what really remains underneath.