Words of Hope: The Secret to A Long and Happy Life

A close friend sent me a Ted Talk that is the most watched in Ted history. This talk references the longest study of adults done to date. Researchers analyzed the lives of about 750 individuals from 1935 and now are studying their children. The conclusion of this study found that joy and happiness in life is not connected to fame, promotions, wealth, or ambition but rather to the quality of our relationships. I believe that is why my dad was such a happy man. He LOVED people and he took time each day to call, text, or encourage others. I have been thinking about this for days now. I intentionally try to look at each person differently, holding in my mind the question of how I can show love and appreciation to this person. I feel lighter and happier since I began this experiment.  

Dad was truly one of the best at building meaningful relationships. I marvel at how he did this. He encouraged, listened, celebrated, provided wisdom and insight, asked forgiveness and repaired well. Lately, I have focused on encouraging and celebrating. But yesterday on a walk with my family instead of enjoying the beauty of the walk, I decided to answer a work email. The family jokingly threw pinecones toward me (I didn’t get hit) but the point was clear. I chose to be distant instead of connecting in the here and now. I can celebrate my girls but if I don’t listen, it hurts our relationship. I can provide wisdom but if I don’t repair well and cause pain by my unwillingness to ask forgiveness, then our relationships suffer. Dad understood the importance of doing well in all these areas of relationship building. I bless him for teaching me how to live well through loving well. 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:2-3