That money does little to make us happier once our basic needs are met, but faith and marriage do lead to happiness (or it could be that happy people are more likely to be married and spiritual [isn't that the same thing?])
It talks of the power of positive emotions: awe, love, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, joy, hope and trust [hmmm, there's sound vaguely familiar...]
It also said about positive emotions that gratitude and joy over time will yield better health and deeper connections, but will in the short term put you at risk. That's because that, while negative emotions tend to be insulating, positive emotions expose us to the common elements of rejection and heartbreak. [We've talked a lot about the risk of connection, but the study is suggesting that the benefits far outweigh the risk. This is why speaking the truth in love goes a long way to deepening our friendships.]
[Maybe you better sit down for this one, it's a shocker!] The only thing that really matter sin life are your relationships to other people. [Let that sink in for a moment--then take stock of what your life looks like compared to that truth.]
You can say a lot of general things about these data that you could never say before, but many of them are relatively shallow. People who go to church report more joy, but if you ask why, we don't know. [Again, I say, hmmmm....]
[And here's the last thing] To illustrate his [one of the researchers] point, he told the story of one of his "prize" Grant Study men, a doctor ad much loved husband. "On his 70yh birthday, when he retired from the faculty of medicine, his wife got hold of his patient list and secretly wrote to may of his longtime patients, "Would you write a letter of appreciation?" And back came 100 single spaced, desperately loving letters--often with pictures attached. And she put them in a lovely presentation box covered with Thai silk and gave them to him. Eight years later, the researcher interviewed the man, who proudly pulled the box down from the shelf. "George, I don't know what you're going to make of this, "the man said as he began to cry, "but I've never read it." "It's very hard, "the researcher said, "for most of us to tolerate being loved."
I wish you could read the long pause between this sentence and the last as that washes over me. It's very hard for most of us to tolerate being loved. There's lots of ways that our sin nature has deamaged us, lots of lies that we have bought into about what our lvies are to be about. The results are that we have elevated things that are relatively unimportant in the long run to priorities in our lives, while avoiding the very thing that has the power to bring real happiness and joy--deep, loving, compassionate friendships. But this is exactly what we're called back to as part of the family of God, to form intimate relationship with our fellow believers because its there and there a lone that we can experience the life that God has for us. That's what we're after here at Oasis, we think it's what God originally made us for.