There is more to life than material comforts
We all strive to live a good life. To most, that means money in the bank, a comfortable home, regular holidays, nice clothes, luxury items and all the latest gadgets. In other words, material goods that bring pleasure… and therefore happiness.
When we are happy, we feel good and what is a good life but a series of feel-good experiences? But experiences have an end; they start and they finish, making them momentary and replaceable because in today’s world the consumer generation equates the pursuit of happiness with material goods and marginalizes spiritual well-being.
Is that truly the recipe for a good life? Shouldn’t we be thinking of the intangibles, starting with good health, without which nothing is enjoyable? Shouldn’t we be considering peace of mind, which, in turn, implies financial security?
And would financial security have any meaning were it not that we have a family to care for, a family that is happy and fulfilled, that our children are provided with an education that will enable them to secure a decent future; that we ensure, through their proper upbringing, that the society we live in is one where values, morals and high standards exist; and that we teach them acceptance and satisfaction for all that has been bestowed on us.
But let us pause for a moment and ask whether living well could be at all possible without safety and security both on a personal and national level?
Simply knowing that we are able to live without fear from day to day, protected and sheltered, to see the smiles on our children’s faces, knowing that tonight they will sleep peacefully, safely and comfortably in their own beds in their own homes, and that tomorrow their little bellies will be full of the assorted foods they can choose from, and that the water they drink is clean and will not make them sick or eventually kill them is enough to realize how much we have and should be grateful for, because that in itself is living well.
And yet we whine and complain and believe others have more and better of what we think we don’t have. We care too much about the materialistic elements of our lives without which our comfort zones are incomplete, not realizing how temporary and ephemeral the pleasures they bring are, and how quickly we replace them with a “newer” version.
This Ramadan, let us spare a thought for those less fortunate, for those whose lives have been overturned by circumstances out of their control, who fast all day in the heat only to break it with a fraction of what we have, in a place they call home but which looks nothing like one, who walk miles to quench their thirst and hear explosions in the air instead of the call to prayer, who shed tears of anger and frustration at the silence of the world, who walk barefoot and unbathed and search for the hand of a loved-one who is no more…
Hoda Al-Helaissi has been a member of the Shoura Council since 2013
and is a member of its Foreign Affairs Committee.