Monday, August 23, 2010

We Do Make a Difference

The choices we make, the behavior we exhibit, the joy we share all reach out to impact others' lives, and their's, in turn, impact our lives.  The poet John Donne gets it.

No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man's death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

When our lives are filled with joy and love, we mustn't be afraid to let it radiate, no matter if we feel it might make others sad by comparison to their circumstance of the moment.  How do we respond to those in pain?  Do we hold back sharing our joy?  Do we become self-conscious of our own blessings and seek to diminish them?

God is full of love.  He wants us to be as well.  Showing and giving love can be part of sharing our own joy and happiness.  If I am struggling with personal trials, my desire is still for you to be happy.  That old phrase, 'misery loves company' is flawed in all regards.  Selfishness would have others be miserable too, but love rejoices in others' happiness despite our own challenges.  We do, and should, make an impact in this life.  If we are holding back we are only losing out on the love that would naturally be reflected back to us.

There is a shortage of joy, of hope, of confidence in our society today.  Struggles and hardship are present on all sides.  People are becoming discouraged and abandoning hope of a better world.  We need each other.  We need to reach out, never hold back, in sharing the light and joy whenever we are blessed to have it.  I love the Plato quote:  "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."   My daughter told me once that the greatest act of charity and love is to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  I agree.  We seldom know what folks are struggling with--many heartaches are visible, more are not.  Most people hide away their pain, try to paint a brave face, and many are none-the-wiser of their broken hearts.

I spent some time today at the doctors' office.  Not the most fun way to spend the day.  After blood tests and x-rays were performed, called for due to significant, prolonged chest pain, the results were declared to be normal.  I was given heavy duty pain medicine which succeeded in knocking me out, but which has failed to ease the pain while I am awake.

Why am I sharing this?  Am I looking for sympathy? for encouraging words? for a casserole?  No.  I have decided that I am not an island.  My family is not an island.  We all need each other in this great, big world of human beings.  If we know of each other's heartaches, then we can be prepared to share and help alleviate them.  We don't need to feel alone, while crowded on every side with humanity.  And yet we often do.  I need you.  And I hope one day you might need me and allow me to know of your sorrows so I can fill the Savior's injunction to bear one another's burdens.

Let us not be reluctant to spread some sunshine if we have received an ample supply.  Let us not be reluctant to reach out with a smile and a kind word.  Our lives here on earth were not meant to be handled alone, and if we feel as though joy is momentarily in short supply, let us remember the sure source of peace and happiness:  the Lord Jesus Christ, and His promise in Doctrine and Covenants, 101:36.

"Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full."

Let us be the Lord's hands here on earth; let us be instruments of his peace.  Share your joy.  And I will share mine.


Nancy said...

I'm sorry that you are still having pain, but at least you are in good hands and under a doctors care. I'm a phone call away and would love to help you out in anyway I can. I hope you're feeling better soon.

The Parent Family Homeschool said...

Ardith I love your post, mainly because this last week I had an awakening.I am a private person and don't share most things, butif you don't mind I will share now. We have been struggling a bit financially and I admit to having a bit of a pity party as People I am friends with on FB have been posting exciting vacations and big shopping trips and such. I struggled with feelings of jealousy and frustration. I finally got on my knees and after MUCH prayer and 2 trips to the temple and a bunch of counting my blessings I was made aware of some people who are also having a hard time.I mean these are people that you would never expect. I was shocked and a bit ashamed that I had been looking so inward that I failed to see that not everyone is out having a party. Just Talking to one of these people and hearing what they have been going thru this past year made me aware of my blessings. These blessings are not $ but the best kind, a husband that loves me and treats me as a princess, kids that are wonderful strong and capable, food storage/ garden, prophets that tell us to live debt free.... these may not seem big to someone else, but I am blessed. I realized that like you said if we were to share more of the bad and the good we could 1) break the pity cycle and 2) if nothing else pray for others as they struggle. That is unfortunately all I have been able to do for these people but I am hoping in the big scheme of things it helps. Love your insite and words of wisdom. (ps sorry for the novel)

Kim said...

I think we have all felt alone in a crowd ~ I know I have. I'm thankful for the times when I turn outward and connect with others because it sure helps me to be a happier person.

I'm so glad you're alright! Thanks for the fantastic post!

Laura said...

I'm so glad you're okay!! How scary!
Loved your post. I think it's something that we all can relate to.

neffie said...

Thank you for this post Ardith. It's very inspiring and insightful. I hope you're feeling better.