Socializing with friends and allies is also a key to happiness, as many decades of studies show. When people are asked to rate their life happiness quotient, and they rate themselves 'happy with life', they also rate themselves as 'social'. The opposite is true, too. Those who are 'unhappy' rate themselves as 'not social'. True hermits are so rare and inaccessible that it's impossible to know much about them.
The same is true for the sense of meaning in life. Those who rate themselves happy and social also find more meaning in their life than those who don't. Those who rate themselves 'open to ideas' and having 'empathy with others' also find more happiness and meaning.
What if we had a relative who was phenomenally wealthy, powerful, joyful, sociable, generous, attractive, loving, heroic and - although extremely ancient - looked and acted like a vigorous thirty-year-old? If he or she were searching for you, would you try and hide? Or would you send a note of invitation? What if this relative also had an immense family that shared all the wealth, beauty, power, heroism, glory, and endless youthful life? What could possibly keep you away?
Maybe you aren't well, or your house is a mess, or your clothes are worn out? Perhaps you're so short of money that you can't afford a gift? Or possibly you've been bad-mouthing this relative and family out of jealousy? What if you committed a crime against this person or the family? That really would put a damper on things. How awful it would be to experience rejection from them. But what if the invitation said you would certainly be forgiven? Could you forgive yourself?
Or perhaps it's not you, exactly, but the crowd you run with and your closest friends and family who are slanderers that have been envious and jealous; maybe even at war with this great family? You know for certain that if you attempted to respond to the great invitation your 'friends' would be angry and might even excommunicate you from their group. You've seen this kind of shunning before, and know how others crumbled - maybe died - of loneliness and disgrace. Perhaps, as with some eastern religions, leaving them would bring a death sentence on your head. Your misery would be great indeed. Still, we're all going to die anyway, so maybe it would be better to risk it; to 'face the music'? Many others have done so and freed themselves from nightmarish bondage.
This is the state of the world today, and that great person is God, our Creator, who is looking for every lost family member who ever went astray. Most of the world is lost in the wilderness and afraid; estranged and disconnected from their only hope of escape from worldly hell. Life on earth almost everywhere is filled with hardship and trials; strife, great suffering, and death. It's getting worse, too.
But it's not too late to reconnect with the glorious family. It's your relatives who are searching for you. Make the first move. A simple prayer will do. You'll know what to say.
The Prodigal Son