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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Better Forces of Happiness

Kathy went to a church retreat last weekend and brought back a gift for me.  It is a burnished red plaque that has the following message inscribed on it in gold lettering.  “Happiness is a grateful spirit; an optimistic attitude; and a heart full of love.”  Certainly these are essential aspects of a profile of happiness.  Think of the opposite extreme, and the truth of the matter becomes readily apparentWe know intuitively the benefits of happiness could not possibly result from an ungrateful spirit, a pessimistic attitude, and a heart full of hate.  These qualities would rather guarantee continual confinement to one’s misery.  An ungrateful spirit indicates that one always feels that he is getting the short end of the stick.  No matter what good things may be bestowed, they are never enough.  He will ensconce himself in the role of taker, and never give or experience the pleasures of generosity.  A pessimistic attitude always looks on the bleak, cynical side of things.  And the truth of the matter is if one insists on looking for it; one can surely find it.  Finally a heart full of hate is continually dousing itself in sulfuric acid.  It fulminates in resentment at everything good.

As in a multiple choice test, it is sometimes easier to get to the right answer by first eliminating the wrong.  When we see the wretched foundations of unhappiness, it is with conviction that we can join the better forces of happiness.

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