Scripture ~ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Spiritual Focus ~ “Where there is life there is hope, where there is no more hope, you are finished.” Eddie Jaku, Holocaust survivor and author of The Happiest Man Alive
Breath Prayer ~ Hope Springs Eternal
Devotion ~ Eddie Jaku received a standing ovation after holding an audience spellbound in his 2019 TED Talk during which he told his story of hope and happiness as a holocaust survivor. At the age of 101 Eddie recently released his book entitled, The Happiest Man on Earth, filled with wisdom about how to be happy in the most hopeless of situations. Jaku doesn’t gloss over hardship and struggles; he shares his wisdom in an authentic way that is accessible to anyone struggling to find hope in life. Eddie points to family and friendships as the blessings of life that instill hope. He says, “Life is not always happiness, there are many hard days, but you must remember that you are lucky to be alive. You are lucky in this way. Every breath is a gift. Life is beautiful if you let it be, happiness is in your hands.”
While there are many promises in scripture, God does not promise that we will never experience hardship. We do, however, see a God who promises to be with us during hard times, to offer us hope and abundant life beyond current situations of hardship. God promises a relationship of love and presence and one way we experience God’s Presence is through the blessings of relationships with family and friends.
As Jaku says, “Every breath is a gift.” Breath is the holy guest of the body that sustains life. Last week we explored pranayama techniques that are helpful in treating depression. Breathing practices can also promote feelings of happiness and well-being, however, this week we consider humming as a happiness habit. Humming can increase endorphins sometimes called the happy hormones. Studies show that people who consciously hum release endorphins and nitric oxide that have a calming effect and increase the feelings of happiness and well-being. The studies suggest that this may be in part because the vagal nerve, the most important nerve in our body, is located next to the vocal cords and helps regulate our nervous system. While it is fascinating to study such simple things like breath and humming as wellness habits, in truth, we must wonder about the creative nature of God who built in such life-giving, accessible pathways to happiness, hope, and joy.