I still see in many of your faces the same kids that were lined up in the pews at St. Lawrence or on the basketball court in the gym at St. Boniface, during the St. Boniface vs. St. Lawrence games. Where has the time gone? In the blink of an eye you went from 3rd graders to graduating seniors.
This is the time in your life when you really are deciding what you want to do when you grow up. This is the time in your life where you really do start to pay attention to the opinions of your parents, grandparents and other adults – or so we like to think. As your parents, this is the time in your life when we reflect on the past and envision your future. It is often that during these reflective moments that our advice to you is something like, “Do what makes you happy” – but we rarely elaborate, or provide any insight as to how to go about this.
I don’t have the answers either I am afraid, but I can share with you some of the things I’ve learned about happiness in my life’s journey. Happiness, I have learned, is temporary. When our primary goal in life is to “be happy” we focus our efforts on the wrong things. Comfort and pleasure become our primary concern, and when we don’t have them, we think we are unhappy. What I have learned is that happiness is not something that we can seek and find. It is something that we create. We create it by using our God given gifts for the benefit of others. We create it through prayer, hard work and our love for God, family, friends and our fellow man.
I will warn you that this path may occasionally be neither comfortable nor pleasurable. Pope Emeritus Benedict reminds us, “The ways of the Lord are not comfortable. But, we were not created for comfort but for Greatness.” Greatness will mean something different for each of you. I encourage you to continue to strengthen your gifts and use them for the benefit of others, and it is through this pursuit – the pursuit of Greatness – that God will bless you with JOY.