The difference between happy and glowing: Giving

This past week I had the privilege of writing an article about a woman from my church. Jean volunteers for a long list of organizations, giving to others in different ways. As she bakes, delivers meals to seniors, quilts, and tackles her many other labours of love, she glows with energy and good spirit. When I asked her why she does all she does, she said, “It makes me feel good. I get back so much more than I give.”

Another friend of mine volunteers for Canadian Red Cross. He supports people in need in his own community, and he travels to countries in crisis around the globe. When he speaks of this work, he glows. “I get back so much more than I give,” he says.

I have heard that refrain over and over in my life, from people aglow with the joy of hands-on giving.

After my conversation with Jean, I thought about other people I know who have stable jobs and who probably give to charity, but who don’t give of themselves in a close contact way. They golf every Saturday, or they enjoy fine dining, or they spend most weekends at their cottage.

I would never say these people aren’t happy. If I were to ask them if they are happy, they would say yes. What is the difference then?

The difference is the glow: The merely happy people pass through life content; the others glow with a giving contact high.

The question then: Do I want to be merely happy, or do I want to glow?

Mud-splattered and glowing in Bolivia

Arlene – Mud-splattered and glowing on a Habitat for Humanity build in Bolivia




About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on September 19, 2014, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, good faith, Gratitude, How do you define success?, Inspiration, Living life to the fullest, modern faith, outreach, religion, spirit and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You glow girl.

  2. This is so good, muddy Arlene. Can I use it in Stewardship? E

    Spirit Matters! Rev. Ellie Barrington 613 225-3627


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