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.