Sunnuntai 23.9.2018
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Jeesus vastasi fariseuksille ja lainopettajille: "Taitavasti te teette tyhjäksi Jumalan käskyn, jotta voisitte noudattaa omia sääntöjänne." Mark. 7:9

Blog: Gathering of women

in English 30.7.2016 15:27 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
The house is beautiful, and there are many women. It is an ordinary home and yet not at all ordinary. Quite personal, in fact, just like the people who live in it. Dusk falls outside the big windows. I look at the women in candlelight, some of them talking with their heads together. Outwardly they are lady-like: calm, harmonious, dreamily relaxed after the working week, and cheerfully serene. I look at the faces, all of them familiar: it was good they could come. The eyes of an older lady seem to show a fleeting flicker of sorrow, maybe worry, and then she leans over to discuss with her neighbor. Cheerful chatter. Lovely women they are. Are these the poor, oppressed creatures without a will of their own that everybody seems to know so much about – and yet does not know…

The topic of the evening is satisfaction and balance. The lady who keeps the introduction starts by saying that it is not self-evident that a person can be content even if she has a good life. Quite often especially hardships and trials teach us satisfaction. Then she goes on to speak about happiness, the three things that contribute to happiness. First: autonomy – that the person can act out of her own free will, spontaneously, and in accordance with her values. Second: that the person can use her own skills, feel herself successful, and accomplish things. Third: that the person can feel fellowship with others, feel that others care about her, and that she cares about others, that she can help and serve and thereby feel herself significant. It is easy to possess all these things that contribute to happiness when you are a mother and serve others. She lifts up her gaze.

I ponder about the last thing contributing to happiness: to serve others, to belong, to be part of a community, to feel oneself significant. Once an old lady on the market wondered about the size of the pot I needed to cook for eight children. I told her that it is somehow nicer to lay the table with ten plates than just one, it does not take much longer. I wonder if modern people calculate what they have time for and what they can give away, without knowing what they lose by doing that. That they miss some very essential interaction. Maybe some day they long for the feeling of being needed.

The lady talks about choices. We can choose how we want to feel: angry and bitter or optimistic, grateful, merciful, and kind. Half of our happiness depends on our personal choice of attitude. We talk about difficult experiences and forgiveness. That we want to forgive because we have ourselves been forgiven so much. So that our inability to forgive would not become an obstacle to faith. Our forgiveness reflects the mercy of God, which will never end. We agree that God knows how lacking we are. We therefore need grace. I remember the words of the Apostle Paul: Out of God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace has been great. God is our Creator and has given us all our gifts, even grace – this is the foundation of healthy and humble self-esteem.

There is more discussion about the causes of happiness and satisfaction. We need not worry because God takes care of us, God knows. Good conscience makes us free. We can live our life happily, share good things and moments with our family and friends. God’s word, both read and preached, give us comfort and confidence in God’s guidance. We sing a song about God’s guidance, and the words of that song seem to add further to the thoughts that we just shared. The words of the song were written about two hundred years ago. Someone at that time spoke about the same experiences that this group of women discussed tonight. That we feel happy and comforted when we know that our safety is in bigger and stronger hands than our own.

I seem to remember something that was said: power of hardships. Satisfaction: a feeling that I do not need anything more. Am I living a life that looks like me? Choose your way to be a wife, a mother, a friend, your way to work, to stay at home, to take care, to decorate your home… So many thoughts, so carefree.

It is dark when we leave. Outside we smell the night and the sea. This is a small remote place, a good place to live when you have friends, when you belong.

Kaisu Tuomaala
Translation: S.-L. Leinonen

The blog post was published in Finnish in online Päivämies on 5 November 2015.

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