Cultivating Happiness Apart from Pleasure
Following up with Proust's lovely thought about friends, I want to say he's right. I think he is at least partially right. But I think being thankful for the people who make us happy is the easy part. What comes harder is being thankful for the people who, through whatever means, test our characters in that process Solomon compares to "iron sharpening iron." I think the temptation may be to surround ourselves with what pleases us, considering pleasure to be God's blessing. We may fail to consider that the unpleasantries and annoyances in life, including those people with whom we'd rather have nothing to do, are in fact, instruments of grace that God means for our growth and perfection.