Where Happiness is Only a Curly Fry Away


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
But anyone who opens their eyes whilst wandering around any city in the United States will see that while our Creator theoretically made us all equal, something has gone wrong in practice. Certainly my first morning in Pittsburgh showed that some people were finding the unalienable right to pursue happiness a little difficult in sub-zero temperatures... turned away from one city-centre church by an armed guard because they were likely to frighten members of the congregation. Other churches ran cold weather shelters, but they only kicked into action at 20 F, and kicked their inhabitants out at 7am. So what if the founder of the church also had no place to lay his head... Unless it was seriously sub-zero he'd have little chance of finding somewhere to sleep in the centre of Pittsburgh...
Happy are the poor... Jesus says in Luke's Gospel. Or do we prefer Matthew's account where Jesus clarifies things for us and specifies that he meant the poor "in spirit"?
Round the corner from this welcoming church however, was an Arby's... which, for the uneducated among you, makes subway seem like haute cuisine, and due to the limitations of the budget I was operating on I, and a colleague had a slap-up Sunday lunch there... And it was there that we discovered (see the comment on an earlier post) that "Happiness is just a curly fry away."
The sad thing is, for many of the poor of Pittsburgh, even a curly fry is too far from their grasp...
But I'm not sure that Pittsburgh is much different in that from much of the western world. In our headlong pursuit of a happiness that has more to do with unalloyed hedonism than Jesus' Beatitudes, how many get left behind and simply give up...
All men may be created equal, but when we go to meet our creator are we still equal?

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