Epiphany 12


“Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself.  It’s what you do for others.”  This might just be the most difficult post I will ever write for some of you to read.  I completely agree with actor/comedian Danny Thomas in the opening quote.  I also realize that very little in today’s world agrees with his words.


Danny Thomas was a struggling actor with a family to support when he said a prayer one day.  Praying to St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, he asked for work.  He promised that if he got a job that he would do something for others.  He got a job and kept his promise.  The result was St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. A hospital devoted to the treatment and curing of multiple childhood diseases once considered incurable.  Because of St Jude’s, children with these illnesses such as cancer are no longer considered lost causes.  They now have a chance at living and many of them are doing just that.


This post might be difficult to read because it is asking you to look away from the mirror and think of someone else.  I am telling you that all you have accomplished for yourself is nice but only that.  Your focus on yourself needs to be broadened to include others.  What’s more, you need to do for others what you want done for yourself.


I am going to again quote Ralph Waldo Emerson because he eloquently spoke of this topic.  “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  Read that again because it really says quite a lot.  “The purpose of life is not to be happy.”  Really?  Then where does happy come into play?


“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”  Gordon B Hinckley realized that in order to be happy we have to stop trying to be happy.  We cannot make being happy our life’s goal because we will never reach it if it is.


The purpose of life needs to be helping others.  Then and only then will we find true happiness and feel complete.  It is easy, in today’s world, to fall into despair and become frightened.  It is fitting that we find the answer to such negative feelings in the words of the man who is spending his last few days as President of the United States.  “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” 


Charles Dickens succinctly said “No one is useless who lightens the burdens of another.”  I hope that today you see that your purpose is in helping someone else.  The best way to lighten your own load is to lighten that of another.  Then we not only help our neighbors, we help ourselves and, quite possibly, discover our purpose in life.



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