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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Selfishness and Misery

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  August 5, 2021 --

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Proverbs 21:13


Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Proverbs 28:27


The Psychologist Randy J. Patterson wrote a book  called How to be Miserable. He says, in part: Think about yourself…Talk about yourself…Use the personal pronoun “I” as  often  as  possible in your conversations…Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others…Listen greedily to what people   say   about   you…Insist on consideration and respect… Demand agreement with your own views on everything…Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them…Never forget a service you may have rendered …Expect to be appreciated…Be suspicious…Be sensitive to slights…Be jealous and envious…Never forget a criticism… Trust nobody but yourself.

Not surprisingly, one  of  the best ways to  be  cheerful  instead of miserable is to be the opposite of all these. Especially you should be a giving person.    A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor    Michael    Norton    and

colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending  it on themselves. It is not only giving of money that raises happiness. Giving of your time and talent has the same effect.  Giving,  whether of time or treasure, also  is  good for your health, as many studies show. And giving is rewarding in many other ways. Those who give unselfishly to others will find that others are  more  likely  to give in return, as well as being more likely to be cooperative and helpful when help is needed.

One of my good friends, now unfortunately deceased, was a very generous man, always giving to others and to the community in many ways. He was also a very happy person, perhaps because he saw the benefits to the community and to his friends of what he did. One of his favorite quotes was the line from Ecclesiastes “Cast your bread upon the waters, and it will return after many days”. He never expected any immediate rewards for his good deeds, but faithfully believed that in the long run the good he did would return to him in some form.

Let us conclude with a quote from the prophet Isaiah: “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”



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