Most everyone in Nepal lack a joie de vivre as they struggle against poverty, the caste system, corruption, and finally, earthquakes! Everyone there would love to just get up and move to another country! Bhutan, another landlocked, impoverished country, right next door, high in the Himalayas, is one of the Happiest nations in the world and no one wants to leave! How come? What does it mean to be Happy, how to attain it, can nations actually be measured on a Happiness Scale? My trip to Bhutan last spring was an exploration to see for myself if they were really happy and how they achieve it. Moreover, I made a personal vow to Practice Happiness in Nepal to see if and how I could make others happy. I was skeptical but gained amazing insights.
One great thing working with young people has taught me is optimism. When you take a hungry, barefoot kid and give him lunch, shoes, and a school uniform, a magical transformation happens that lifts his/her spirit, if not his/her soul. Updating one of my previous sermons, it is evident this past election does not spell the end, but is a throwback, an adolescent revolt, for a large number of people who must act out before they come to understand that there is no turning back. Ultimately, we all have to learn to take responsibility not just for ourselves, but for each other. I’m hopeful.