Listen to episode 263 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Be of Good Cheer. Edited and adapted from The Blessing of Cheerfulness by J.R. (James Russell) Miller.
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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Blessing of Cheerfulness by James Russell Miller, published in 1895.
There are many ways in which we may bless others. For example, a ministry of helpfulness is a perpetual benediction. One who feeds the hungry, visits and relieves the sick, the poor, and the orphan, and comforts sorrow, is a blessing to the world. One who speaks words that strengthen, inspire, or comfort others, blesses us all. One who uses their money to do good is also a blessing. But can one be a blessing merely by being cheerful?
Yes. Joyful living exerts a silent influence for good. It is like a sweet flower by the wayside, which has a benediction for all who pass by. Everyone carries an atmosphere about them. It may be healthful and invigorating, or it may be unwholesome and depressing. It may make a little spot of the world a sweeter, better, safer place to live in. Or it may make it harder for those to live worthily and beautifully who dwell within its circle. We are responsible for this atmosphere.
Our influence may be involuntary in its final effect. We cannot wholly change it from evil to good on any particular day by a mere volition. It is something that belongs to our personality. It is an emanation from our character; and our character is the growth of all our years, what has been built up in us by all the lessons, experiences, impressions, and influences of life, from childhood.
Hence the atmosphere that hangs about us on any particular day is, in a large degree, involuntary. At the same time we are responsible for it. We are responsible for our character — our own hands have made it what it is. If we have trained ourselves to be discontented and unhappy (so that wherever we go we make others about us less happy), we may not blame heredity, or original sin, or environment, for our unfortunate disposition.