The silly Starbucks cup has brought about another surge of incredibly offended people crying in outrage that they and their beliefs are being persecuted. Some folks though are noticing how easily offended people seem to be these days. After all, whether or not your coffee cup has a snowflake on it, really doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal in the grand scheme of the world. There are starving children who could eat for a month on the $5 you spent on your horribly offensive latte. People are outraged by the lack of a snowman but no one bats an eye at childhood hunger in what is supposed to be the wealthiest nation on the planet.
I don’t blame the latte lobbyists. I don’t condemn them for their lack of world view. Instead, I see them as a sign of a much bigger problem in our society.
We live in a society which thrives on being offended, outraged, and just plain angry all the time. There’s always something to complain about and always someone doing wrong by someone else. All this anger and grief isn’t the problem though. It’s the symptom.
I’m reminded of this quote from Adolf Huxley: “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”
Our society has spent years and countless dollars selling us the lies of overcompensation and the “glamour of a good fight”. That’s all we watch on television. It’s all we want to hear about in music. We want the fight, the fear, the fleeting sense of adrenaline. We want the super dramatic life, because we’ve been conditioned to think that that’s where happiness can be found.
We’re so easily offended because we walk around looking for a fight so that if we win we might have a fleeting moment of happiness within the bloody victory.
My friends, that is not true happiness. This jumping from one fight to another, that will never bring contentedness. True happiness, that true place of feeling perfectly content just as you are, is much simpler to find.
It comes with the simplicity of a good meal shared with friends. It’s found in a child’s mud-covered smile. Happiness is found in living your day to day life with simplicity, kindness, and love. It’s not found in fancy things like red cup with snowflakes but in simple gestures like sharing a cup of plain black coffee with a stranger on the street corner, reading with an old woman, playing checkers with a veteran just returning home.
No amount of Christmas decoration on a paper cup will fill the void that’s found in an unfulfilled life, but a little charity, maybe even some grace, those will make all the difference.