Small Town News

Guest Opinion

My Thoughts

The Julian News of Julian, California

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Recently one of my friends asked for prayers from all of her contacts. One of her family members was in deteriorating health. Many of us responded with prayers and positive thoughts for her entire family. She thanked everyone and then I felt a need to thank her. She gave us all an opportunity to do a good deed for someone. As I've often written, many people like to help others but don't know how. Saying a prayer for someone in need of spiritual help or passing on a verbal hug costs nothing and can have many benefits for both the giver and the receiver.

Some cliches come to my mind as I'm writing this. One cliche says that you can give a man a fish and he will be able to eat one meal. Teach him to fish and he will have meals for the rest of his life. If you use your imagination to apply this to a variety of situations, you can understand how easy it can be to make a person prosperous. In turn, you have taught that person a lesson that will last a lifetime. This increases your personal prosperity because by helping someone you have increased your own emotional prosperity.

It is better to give than to receive. Give something to another person and you have found a way to help that person. You can give tangible things such as food or a coat or scarf on a cold day, or you can give that person some of your time. Giving your time when someone needs help moving a piece of furniture, or needs a ride or simply needs someone to listen is another way to make your own life more prosperous.

Receiving is more difficult than giving. I find that this is true and years ago I read it in a Reader's Digest article. Many people don't like to be on the receiving end of gift giving. They are sometimes embarrassed to have a reason to say "Thank You" when they would rather say "You are welcome." However, receiving a gift that someone has put effort into deciding what would be perfect for you or deciding just what you need is an important part of being a good person.

My very good friend and mother-in-law once told me that men who attended church with her kept insisting that they wanted to prune her apple trees. She told me more than once that she was perfectly capable of pruning her trees by herself. I said "So what? You are in your mid-70s and these young men want to do something for you that will make them feel better about themselves It's very selfish of you to deprive them of this kind of emotional prosperity." Finally she let the young men prune her trees. The trees got pruned and the young men were very satisfied because they were able to help someone who actually needed the help and they kept her from doing something that could have caused her to fall off of her ladder and injure herself.

When I think of prosperity, I don't usually think of money and what it can buy for me. Through most of my life I haven't had enough money to do necessary things, so buying frivolous things never seems to work well for me. For instance I have seldom had enough money to hire someone to do a great job of cleaning my property and I don't have enough money to buy a new lawnmower to replace my old tired lawnmower. But if I did, I would hope that something important doesn't break on my car that would have to be replaced immediately. This is how I live my life and I know that many people live the same way.

About 25 years ago I spent a some years with enough money in the bank to remodel both of my bathrooms. I did nearly all of the work, including designing the new layout, buying all of the needed fixtures and laying down the linoleum and papering and painting the walls. At that time I felt that my new found skills made me feel good about myself, in a way prosperous.

For me, being prosperous means the same as being well off. Well off is what I am when I have enough food to eat, when I feel safe, when I have a comfortable home to live in and when I have people in my life who I can rely on and when I have people in my life who know they can rely on me. This is a form of Mazlow's pyramid which I learned about in school. Having all of these things in my life and adding the fact that I live in an area that really suits me, these things make me feel that I have a prosperous life.

I feel extremely fortunate because I live where I can watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I get to see and feel weather, most noticeable when I watch clouds drift through my property. I am able to watch wild birds, wild turkeys, the occasional bobcat and deer wander across my yard and I get to enjoy this view while looking out from my kitchen window.

A dictionary definition of prosperity includes a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, along with good fortune. Dictionaries also include financial success as a definition of prosperity. However, putting all of the other definitions together, and leaving out financial success, I can add that all of the good things in my prosperous life add up to peace of mind. I think that it's difficult to gain peace of mind while trying to stay on top of the financial world, so I remain content knowing that the properity that I have in my life gives me a gratifying full life.

These are my thoughts.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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