No. 477



Have you ever thought about the fact that today is a gift? It's true. That's why it's called the present. Today is the only day we have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not yet come, but we can ruin this great gift by our attitude and how we treat other people. Like most people, I get down once in a while but not often. Basically I'm an "up" person and look on the bright side of life, most of the time. In dealing with people, day in and day out, I have found there are a lot of unhappy people out there in the world. When I run across people who are really unhappy, I do my best to cheer them up and brighten their day a little. I might add, this does not cost anything except a little of our time, and it will pay all kinds of dividends.

Unlike joy that springs from deep within the human soul and heart, happiness is an emotion that lies just below the surface of our everyday experiences. We can be happy one moment and sad the next because of events, circumstances and people who come along. If you are not basically a happy person, I want to share something that one of my readers, in the great state of Mississippi, sent me a few weeks ago. I might add, this could have a great impact on your thinking, especially if you would like to experience more happiness in your life.

What Mrs. Moselle Lewis sent me was a story of two men, both seriously ill, who occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's window. The other man had to spend all his time flat of his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service and where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing all the things he could see outside the window to this roommate.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm and arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band, he could hear it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed. One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you." Here is the Epilogue, and it's something I hope you will really think about: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just think of all the things you have that money can't buy.

This brings me to the secret of how to be truly happy. Other people will forget what you said. In time they will forget much of what you did for them, but they will never forget how you made them feel. A few years ago I knew a young lady who had a child out of wedlock. I made a special point to befriend her and make her feel that she had true and lasting value as a human being. While today we don't see each other often, she is happily married and you would not believe the way she hugs me when we greet each other. God is so good and His love is everlasting. The more happiness we give away, the more it comes back to us.

(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)