Pause for Thought April 2017

“And how are your children doing?”
That’s a question parents often get asked when they meet friends. When the children have grown up and ‘flown the nest’, the answer often starts with a description of what they are doing, where they are working/studying etc. rather than how they are doing. But if the question had been, “Are your children happy?”, we would be forced to answer perhaps a deeper and more important question.

A recent BBC survey amongst older children has revealed levels of anxiety, stress and unhappiness that are a cause for concern. Children might be attaining good results in exams, but there are other less easily measurable values which are perhaps more important. Parents might say to a child, “As long as you’re happy, that’s all that really matters”, but it’s not always reflected in the way we answer the question, “how are your children doing?”. Instead of answering with a display of exam success or a good job, what about saying, “Well, she/he is happy, with friends and feels fulfilled.”

Life is not always about the bottom line, the career, the tick boxes, but is about relationships and other less measurable yet more valuable things. For all our material prosperity and progress in many fields, it seems that happiness and contentment have not made the same progress.

We are coming to the end of Lent, and are approaching Easter. Lent is a time of reflection, a time to consider the things that are really important. Easter is a time when, as a Christian, I can rejoice, be happy and remember that whatever life throws at me, I am valued beyond measure because Jesus gave his life for me. Not only that – as a Christian I rejoice that Jesus rose from the dead and so I have hope for eternity.

Knowing the end of the story gives great encouragement and is a source of profound joy, confidence and happiness. In the words of the song, ‘Empty Page’ by Paul Field –

“I’m not pretending
that my story never fails
but I’ve already read the ending
and I know your love prevails.”

Hope for the future and help for the present  - that’s part of the message of Easter.
May I wish you all a happy Easter.

Rev Dave Maylor.