There is a legendary story about two dogs that sometimes circulates on social media. Both dogs at separate times walk into the same room. One comes out wagging his tail while the other comes out growling. A woman watching this goes into the room to see what could possibly make one dog so happy and the other so mad. To her surprise she finds a room filled with mirrors. The happy dog found a thousand happy dogs looking back at him, while the angry dog saw only angry dogs growling back at him. The moral of the story of course is what you see in the world around you is a reflection of who you are. I would go one step further to suggest that we all have great power to shape our environment by what we chose to project.
The dog story reminds me of a woman named Josie, who was a resident in a nursing home where I worked as a teenager. She was one of the most delightful human beings I had ever met, and whenever I and other staff had a few minutes of down time, we were irresistibly drawn to her room to chat, laugh, and pass the time with her. Other residents complained that she got unfair amounts of attention from staff, which may have been true, but we were so attracted to her and the way she elevated our moods by aways radiating such warmth, joy, and love. It was a good lesson for a teenager to learn early in life—that we get back what we give out. What we project can make the difference between being surrounded by friends or suffering loneliness in old age.
I think of the simple spiritual principal set forth by Jesus in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” As we start fall, let us be reminded of the great blessings that come with giving and the great power we possess to shape our environments!