Happiness and sorrow are often very close to each other. Last Tuesday, a colleague pointed out the International Day of Happiness held that day. At the time I already knew that I should write this weekly editorial and spontaneously thought about happiness as a topic for it … Unfortunately, that plan changed in the afternoon as I received the message that my “grandma” peacefully passed away. I believe that she is with God now and I will always be thankful for the time we had together. Since then, my feelings of grief and gratitude take turns. She and I had a strong bond of trust and appreciation for each other that will not cease to exist. For years, I was supporting her in her household and she was always there for me e.g. in helping me finance my driver’s license and countless other matters.

Every day we experience moments of joy or sorrow, be it in our private or professional lives. On Wednesday, for example, I attended an event organized by FEANTSA at the European Parliament on the provision of support to undocumented migrants. It is sad to hear about cases of services for homeless people dealing with pressures from public authority’s to identify irregular migrants or to even prevent them from accessing services. At the same time, it is encouraging to see people working for a more just world –  across Eurodiaconia members we take part in that challenge and contribute to that goal on a daily basis.

One of my favorite movies is Into the Wild. A young man leaves his middle-class life in pursuit of freedom from relationships and obligations, away from the trappings of the modern world. However, his journey eventually leads him to the final and tragic realization that “Happiness is only real when shared”. Relationships are what makes life special. With this in mind, let’s take this year’s theme of the International Day of Happiness to heart and “Share Happiness – focusing on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other“.

Have a good weekend,