Happiness – Felixstowe Celebrates Saint Felix
Happiness is innate, basic to and necessary for being a well rounded human being and there are many levels of happiness we can tune/turn into for all round benefit “Whoever is happy will make others happy too”. Anne Frank
Did you know that that the Roman name Felix which is derived from the same Latin word means Happy? so, it is Felixstowe’s or as I like to call it sometimes Felixtickletoe’s privilege and joy to continue to live up to its name which it has been quietly doing down the years bringing sweet healing relief to many, maybe gentle relaxation or great fun, precious time to sort things through – re-focus, patch things up maybe, to fish until we dish, shop until we drop and…smile again.
Whatever, time is well spent living / working here, or carrying away that certain ‘something’ however its golden touch has touched us especially this year as it marks the 1,370th anniversary of the death of St Felix who if you didn’t know was Felix of Burgundy who became Felix of Dunwich, being the first Bishop of the East Angles credited with bringing Christianity to East Anglia…yes, he would have arrived here much earlier but catching the 6.30 from Liverpool Street to Ipswich there were Vikings on the line !
Happiness is as essential to living as it is to die, there is nothing like having lived a well-lived life, though everyone makes mistakes of course and as a wise priest once said “A man who hasn’t made a mistake, hasn’t made anything” how true… “Mistakes are stepping stones to wisdom”.
So, death and happiness you may say? well yes, they ought to be good buddies and can be, but often the inadequate and badly shared teaching about the passing of a fellow human being to the next life by the ‘Church’ and its varying ‘Ministers’ and education in this area in general – forgive the generalizations – leave a lot to be desired leaving people rightly dissatisfied and leaving… seeking elsewhere.
There is really no need, because as there is usually joy in the cause and conclusion of giving birth, joy in finding and really securing a stable and deepening relationship, so there should be and is to the spiritually aware person real joy in the passing on to a further form of Infinite Life when the time has
come to relinquish our well worn out machinery the body. Or, if that is not meant to be, then may I gently commend to you a very beautiful poem by Ben Jonson which begins “It is not growing like a tree..’ which really helps to put matters that matter into soulful or larger perspective.
So, yes, of course, there are excellent ministers who are connected with things as they are, Happily Intuitive –the finite in tune with the Infinite who can dutifully connect and convey such necessary joy in a genuine soulful service to mostly… everyone’s satisfaction.
Many of us thank goodness, truth, and beauty are familiar with the wonderful piece of writing ‘Death is nothing at All’ by Henry Scott Holland, the original version being the best, then we have darting back in time to the 13th century the timeless words of the great Sufi poet Rumi who said “You have a deathless soul. Why on earth are you afraid of death? you possess the Light of God. How can you fit into a grave” ?
He likewise guided people to the understanding that funerals should be a time of “rejoicing and thanks and dancing” something which I firmly agree with and sensitively endeavour to achieve at every service I take locally be it at the excellent Seven Hills Crematorium at Nacton or elsewhere and at burial services wherever they are held in the county/country.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama of Tibet – two spiritual giants of our time spent some time together a few years ago and ‘The Book of Joy’ was written detailing their conversations and experiences. Once again Desmond Tutu points to the importance of Joy, laughter and jokes at Funerals as a necessary part of bringing matters full circle – to a loving, harmonious, grateful & peaceful conclusion for everyone involved – everyone matters.
The two hander show ‘Ugly Chief’ by Victoria Melody and her father Mike at the New Wolsey Theatre recently was likewise/light-wise… about evolving all round healthier attitudes towards living and dying including a filmed interview with a funeral Master of Ceremonies from abroad who said “If there are to be tears, let them be tears of joy”. Ah, ! a breath of fresh air – which of course reminded me of dear old, yet ever new Felixstowe, thanks St Felix and here’s to your next anniversary, cheers!
Speaking of whom, would anyone business, club or individual like to sponsor and maybe co-write with me ‘The Felixstowe Book of Happiness’ – A
Celebration of the Community Spirit of Felixstowe – a refreshing dip in a sparkling ocean of inspiration both local and international – hilarious jokes, smiling photographs, classic quotes, poems, photographs and stories all about happiness to sell in aid of The Felixstowe Community Hospital. Please do get in touch if you can help in any way, thank YOU – for what did those two happy chappies Morecombe and Wise wisely sing at the end of their show? “In this world where we live, there should be more happiness…
* The Rt Revd Charles Mugleston
01394 285 669
Team Minister at Harvest House Chapel, Felixstowe
photo by Pete Procopiou