We get more happiness not in having nor in getting, but in giving; in reaching out, sharing, smiling, hugging.... Happiness is a perfume we cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on ourselves. We'll soon realize as we look back upon our lives that the moments that stand out, the moments when we have really lived, are the moments when we have done things in the spirit of love and gratitude.

When we find the opportunity to help someone, let's rejoice and be grateful because that person's prayer is being answered through us. Our purpose on earth is not to get lost in the dark but to be a light to others, so that they may find the way through us.

Riches are only blessing to us when we pass them lovingly along to others. There are two kinds of people in the world: Givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better. The narrative that follows reminds us the joy of sharing and giving.

An old story tells that one day, a countryman knocked hard on a monastery door. When the monk tending the gates opened up, he was given a magnificent bunch of grapes.

"Brother, these are the finest my vineyard has produced. Iíve come to bear them as a gift."

"Thank you! I will take them to the Abbot immediately, heíll be delighted with this offering."

"No! I brought them for you. For whenever I knock on the door, it is you who opens it. When I needed help because the crop was destroyed by drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a cup of wine every day."

The monk held the grapes and spent the entire morning admiring it. And decided to deliver the gift to the Abbot, who had always encouraged him with words of wisdom.

A simple act of kindness may plant a seed of friendship that will always grow. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone. We find it with others. -Thomas Merton

The Abbot was very pleased with the grapes, but he recalled that there was a sick brother in the monastery, and thought: ďIíll give him the grapes. Who knows, they may bring some joy to his life.Ē

And that is what he did. But the grapes didnít stay in the sick monkís room for long, for he reflected: ďThe cook has looked after me for so long, feeding me only the best meals. Iím sure he will enjoy these.Ē

The cook was amazed at the beauty of the grapes. So perfect that no one would appreciate them more than the sexton; many at the monastery considered him a holy man, he would be best qualified to value this marvel of nature.

The sexton, in turn, gave the grapes as a gift to the youngest novice, that he might understand that the work of God is in the smallest details of Creation. When the novice received them, he remembered the first time he came to the monastery, and of the person who had opened the gates for him; it was that gesture which allowed him to be among this community of people who knew how to value the wonders of life.

The most unselfish act one can ever do is paying forward the kindness one has received even to the most undeserving person.

And so, just before nightfall, he took the grapes to the monk at the gates. "Eat and enjoy them, he said, for you spend most of your time alone here, and these grapes will make you very happy."

The monk understood that the gift had been truly destined for him, and relished each of the grapes, before falling into a pleasant sleep.

Thus the circle was completed; the circle of joy and happiness, which always shines brightly around generous people.

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless the giver.

People need people and friends need friends. And we all need love, for a full life depends not on vast riches or great acclaim, not on success nor on worldly fame, but just in knowing that someone cares and holds us close in their thoughts and prayer. For only the knowledge that we're understood makes everyday living feel wonderfully good.

By Tim Pedrosa

Itís not enough to have lived. Be determined to live for something. It could be creating joy for others, working for the betterment of society, sharing what we have, bringing hope to the lost, and giving love to the lonely. ~unknown