The joy of giving

A story is told of an overworked businessman, who, on the point of a nervous breakdown, was sent to a cedar-crested cliff overlooking a lovely bay down by the sea. There the depressed man spent much time in the stillness of life. 

For the first time in many years, he heard the sea breeze and felt the warmth of the golden sun beams. The rustling of the cedar leaves and the song of the chirping birds brought music to his ears.

The lush landscape of the cliff calmed his mind. At night, the twinkling stars lighted up the mystic horizon, cheering him.  Feeling healthy and blissful, he heard Mother Nature call out to him, “My child, this is the joy of living. Take time to live it!” 

Modern man, somehow, has come to believe that a joyful life is the one filled with material blessings and worldly pleasures. So he is busy from dawn to dusk, trying to buy into this materialistic happiness.

However, all too soon he grows weary and realises that his life here on earth is but limited. The average span of man being 75 years, he has only 27,375 days to live. Surely then, every one of these days must become his most prized possession. He ought to indeed take time to live the joyful life.   

Joy is that deep-down feeling, which is independent of our riches and status in society. The trouble with modern man is that he confuses joy with pleasure. Pleasure is dependent on circumstances while joy is inward. Pleasure is fluctuating but joy is
constant.  Pleasure is insatiable, whereas joy is gratifiable.

Pleasure is self-seeking unlike joy that is self-giving. Pleasure is worldly in contrast to joy which is divine and comes as a gift from God.

Robert D Foster, author of the essay, Seven minutes with God – How to plan a daily quiet time, says, “Joy is an inward singing that cannot be silenced by outward negative circumstances; even when life seemingly is falling apart.”

Finding joy, therefore, has nothing to do with our material possessions or the lack of it. It is mostly from inanimate things that joy springs. It could be nature, music, art, books, friendship, religion or even just a memory from the past.

But most of all, joy dwells in all acts of kindness. It boomerangs on those who spread it.
Florence Nightingale, working hard as a nurse tending to the wounded soldiers, would say, “This is life! I wish for no other world than this!”

This proves the words of a scholar who said, “Where there is joy, there is fulfilment and where there is fulfilment there is joy!”

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