Making the pathway bright

I like making people smile.  I try to be funny.  I tell jokes and say things that I think will make people laugh.  In class, I tell jokes to my students and I even confess that they're cheesy and that it's okay if they don't laugh.  Sometimes I offer extra credit for anyone who does laugh.

At any rate, I really enjoy brightening other people's lives.  I have been told by a few different people that I am a positive source of energy, and I really like being seen that way.  There is much sadness in the world and I would like to think that I do my share to combat it.

In fact, this is why I have decided to be as vocal as I have on the matter of gay rights.  I think it is unjust to allow straight people to marry but not gay people.  I think that in order to decrease the amount of sadness and oppression, gay marriage should be legalized.  So, I fight to brighten the lives of other gay people such as myself.  I don't delude myself in thinking that I make an enormous difference--that I tip the scale or anything--especially since I have joined the cause so late in the game, where the momentum is already built to the point of being unstoppable (for which I am very grateful).  However, I do like to think that I've done something to the effect of helping people who had previously had unpleasant views of gay people or a less than adequate understanding of the topics involved with gay rights.

But, aside from that, I try in every aspect of my life to make people happy.  Perhaps I do this too much, maybe not enough.  But I enjoy doing it.  Knowing that I have brightened someone's day makes me that much happier myself.  Seeing a smile on another person's face that I put there is so very rewarding to me. Of course, I'm also flattered when someone laughs at my jokes because it confirms my egotistical notion that I'm funny.  But, the fact of the matter is that I genuinely care about people.  I want them to be happy and I want their life to be better for having interacted with me.
You can live a happy life in this world of toil and strife
If there's sunshine in your heart.
And your soul will glow with love from the perfect light above
If there's sunshine in your heart today.
I think that that this is very true.  Regardless of what things are going on around you, you can choose to be happy.  You don't need money, you don't need good grades.  You don't need a nice car or a huge house or any other such amenities in life.  Happiness is a choice.  (Of course, I don't mean to discredit those who are clinically depressed, what I have said I mean to be interpreted in the context of having a normal balance of chemicals in the brain.)  You get to decide how to react to any situation.  When someone cuts you off in traffic, you can be angry at them or you can be grateful that they didn't cause an accident and that you and your car are still fine.

I am a very happy man.  And I have many reasons to be happy.  Certainly, I have many reasons to be unhappy too, but I see no value in focusing on those reasons.  I could complain about this or that or the other, but the point is that I don't like doing that.  I like acknowledging that there is much good and happiness in the world around me.  I love my boyfriend, I love my job, I love my life.  And I love making other people happy too.

So, here's for brightening your day.  Go out and brighten someone else's.  Smile at that grumpy cashier.  Give an extra large tip to that waiter/waitress.  One time, when Karen and I were first married, one of the guys in our apartment complex hit a ball into our kitchen window.  We baked him a plate of cookies and took it over.  It felt so much nicer than being angry at him or upset at the fact that our window was broken (fortunately, we had very efficient management at that complex and it wasn't long before the pane was replaced--in fact, they had already vacuumed up the glass before we ever got home and saw it broken).  Now that I think about it, I don't often have things like that happen to me in life, but when I react with kindness like that I find myself and the other person much happier than when I react hastily with anger or bitterness.