“We too have the power to choose happiness over righteousness. Righteousness means remembering every time someone hurts us or disappoints us, and never letting them forget it (and—frightening thought—giving them the right remember every time we hurt them or let them down and constantly remind us of it). Happiness means giving people the right to be human, to be weak and selfish and occasionally forgetful, and realizing that we have no alternative to living with imperfect people.

Boston Globe columnist Linda Weltner makes the point in a story she tells. She remembers sitting in a park watching children at play. Two children get into an argument, and one says to the other, “I hate you! I’m never going to play with you again!” For a few minutes, they play separately, and then they are back sharing their toys with each other. Ms. Weltner remarks to another mother, “How do children do that? How do they manage to be so angry with each other one minute, and the best of friends the next?” The other mother answers, “It’s easy. They choose happiness over righteousness”.

The quest for righteousness estranges people each other; the quest for happiness enables them to get past their shortcomings and connect with each other. And strange as it may seem, happiness may be a more authentically religious value than righteousness. “

From:
Harold Kushner, How Good Do WE Have to Be? pp. 108-109

Book available on our website.

Comments are closed.