WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

During one of my trips to Israel, I had the awesome experience of wading out into the Dead Sea-the lowest place on earth. I was captivated by its beauty yet highly aware and extremely cautious of the high salinity of this body of water. In fact, at one point I gasped in alarm as the stinging waters splashed into my eyes.

True to its name the Dead Sea is dying. Although it is being fed by the Jordan River, there is no outflow of waters from it. Thus, it is shrinking at an alarming rate. Its salt levels are so high that neither plants nor animals can survive within it. Nevertheless, within its depths lies precious minerals used in various anti-aging, cosmetic and healing products since the time of ancient Egypt.

Just as water flows in from the Jordan River, it not only stops there, but it is evaporating at an exceptional rate. In that respect lies a striking similarity between the Dead Sea and those who bask in the beauty and blessings of this life, yet fail to share those blessings with others.

We are all blessed with precious gifts and talents. Yet how often do we fail to recognize them? How often, due to procrastination, fear of failure or simply a negative attitude, do we allow them to lie dormant within ourselves simply failing to share them?

For those who have done just that, what did the world miss? Without the paintings, sculptures and architecture of Michelangelo, generations would be deprived of the beauty he left for this world, but even more generations of artists to follow him would have failed to have been inspired by his works. Had Thomas Edison not pursued/shared his talents he would not have invented the light bulb, phonograph, motion picture camera, and so many other modern contributions or held 1,093 patents in his name. On a very different, yet just as significant scale is the example of Mother Teresa and how she most humbly lived her life to simply care for others.

What lies within each and every one of us is precious. Yet with the distractions of this world, we tend to allow the days to pass without seeking, discovering and using those gifts. Don’t let another day pass without striving to share your God given gifts with another. It may be as simple as brightening one’s day with a kind word, compliment or a smile; listening to someone who is obviously troubled; apologizing for a misunderstanding (not a sign of weakness, but one of courage); sending a card or taking a meal to someone who is ill; giving respect and/or aid to a homeless outcast; or simply praying for one in need. However small the gesture, make a conscious effort of seeking out ways to serve, and the heartwarming response will change your life and the lives of those around you. Yes, if we open our hearts to understand and encourage our fellow travelers of this world, our gifts will not only be revealed to us, but will blossom exponentially. Your compassion for others may just give them the hope they felt was forever lost.

What makes you happy? What makes you feel the most alive? Within the answers to those questions lies the gifts of your heart. I believe you will find the answers in those examples above. You will experience happiness through what eventually becomes unconscious habits to make others happy. For it is there you will find your true passion. No matter what age or walk of life you may find yourself, there is the time and the opportunity to discover that passion and live life to the fullest. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “for it is in giving that we receive.” Thus, it is when we love that we receive love in return. That is the greatest gift of all.

The above analogy doesn’t end there. Interestingly enough man has intervened to attempt to save the Dead Sea by running a pipeline between it and the Red sea. We too can bring renewed lifelines to each other as we share the love of God through the smallest and simplest gestures in life. Just as His Divine presence lives within each of us, we must continue to ask him to lead us to the ones who need us each day. For it is there we will find our passion, our true happiness.

Today on All Saints Day, let us remember all those holy souls who lived their passion for bringing God’s heart and spirit to us. May their examples be a lifeline to us all!