A Growing Heart

By Joseph J. Mazzella • May 7, 2018

I was selfish as a teenager. This I freely admit. I usually spent my time thinking about myself and taking care of my own needs. I let my older brother do most of the chores around the house until he left for college. I let my Mom and Dad worry about our bills and problems while I read books, played, and lost myself in my own imagination. This didn’t change even when I went to college either. I studied hard but only to make my own life better. Even when I started to explore my faith and spirituality, it was only to increase my own happiness.

I married while still in school and decided to start a family. Of course, I had no idea what hard knocks reality had in store for my selfish soul. Soon I found myself unemployed, deeply in debt, and with a new baby on the way. I found out that modern life has little sympathy for spoiled, pampered people. In fact, all of the struggles I was going through were beating the selfishness slowly out of me one problem at a time.

Still, I didn’t give up on happiness. I knew that there must be a way to find it. I finally realized, however, that it had to include more than just my own needs, wants, and desires. The answer began to make itself clear one night shortly after my baby boy was born. My wife was asleep in the middle of the night when I heard him stir in his cradle. I got a bottle and held him in my arms. As I was feeding him I looked down and saw his big, innocent, trusting eyes staring up at me. I smiled and talked soothingly to him. Then he smiled and I could feel my heart growing, expanding with love. I felt such peace and joy. In that moment I had a hint of the truth: it is by growing our hearts with love that we find our happiness. It is by sharing our love with others that we create joy, serve God, and make this world a better place.

Carolyn Arends wrote: "The more people you let into your heart, the bigger your heart gets. The more love you give, the more love you have to give. It just keeps growing." Keep loving then. Keep living. Keep laughing. Keep caring. Keep sharing. Keep helping our Heavenly Father to heal this world. Keep growing your heart today, tomorrow, and always.

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