i’ll say it directly right up front, i believe in pleasure. i really do. i ‘m not a rock star, or an adolescent, or a delinquent, at least i’ve not been called a delinquent, at least not lately. what i am is a husband and a father of four. i’m a family man through and through. i hold down a plain, steady job, and have for many years. i graduated from high school, from college, from graduate school, and from law school. i don’t drink or smoke or take drugs, not any more at least. i go to bed early almost every night. and i believe in the sacrosanctity of pleasure.
but pleasure is a very funny thing. for one, it never comes from money, power, fame, pretty things, prestige, consumption of drugs, the image of eternal youth, or any of the other things madison avenue holds out as the holy grails of pleasure. in fact, these things, money, power, prestige, and the like, almost always lead in the exact opposite direction of pleasure. despite the common perception that money buys happiness, the empirical truth is otherwise: money increases neither happiness nor pleasure.
so what does? what causes pleasure? the answer to this question reveals the true genius of the human form. the evidence everywhere and all around is that pleasure and happiness freely come to us when we simply do the things we should. as a parent, pleasure comes to us when we go hiking with our children in the woods; when we read stories and paint pictures together; when we teach our children right from wrong. as a citizen, pleasure comes to us when we pick up garbage around our neighborhood; when we vote; when we donate our time and our money to the cause of uplifting and encouraging others. as a spouse, pleasure comes to us when we do our share of the household chores; when we rub an aching back or foot; when we readily lend a shoulder to lean upon; when we forgive and forget. as a spiritual being, we receive pleasure when we give thanks; when we praise our Maker; when we confess our brokenness and seek forgiveness.
to say that i believe in pleasure is really to say that i believe in the miracle of human being. we humans are miraculously constructed. we receive pleasure only from those activities that uplift us and those around us, and bring us closer to our Creator. we are given happiness only when engaged in doing the things that we should be engaged in doing. in short, by design, we receive pleasure and happiness as we spread pleasure and happiness.
isn’t that beautiful? isn’t that brilliant? to have been made in such a way that nothing pleases us deeper or better than doing the right thing; nothing makes us happier. nothing satisfies our human flesh quite as completely as loving, our spouses, our children, our community, our world.
i believe in pleasure, for i believe that true pleasure it is the greatest gift we are capable of receiving on this earth, and our surest guide in our daily lives. we were given pleasure to know God’s nature, and madison avenue knows nothing about it.
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