If you enjoy nature, you would have loved the view from my tree stand on the first day of buck season in Pennsylvania. Although the skies were slightly overcast, several inches of snow provided a pristine backdrop for the landscape before me. And talk about action! Within the span of three hours, I saw 16 doe, a 5-point buck, and a unicorn (more or less).
The action slowed by late morning so we decided to move to another location. The move wasn’t so great. There the snow had all melted and other hunters were already occupying the places we wanted to stand. Feeling like a misfit in a crowded room, I managed to find a corner of the property that had no hunters, but also had no deer.
While tempted to gripe about the less than ideal circumstances, I remembered how great my morning experience had been and decided to stay positive. Then, just as the daylight faded, I got a text from my buddy, John, who had just bagged a beautiful 9-point buck. I was excited for John, but my temptation to be envious jumped about three notches.
I haven’t had much success with buck hunting in recent years, while John always seems to get a nice one. “Why can’t things go my way for a change?” I began to think as the last rays of sunshine faded, enveloping the woods into a deepening darkness.
Suddenly, part of a Bible verse popped into my head. “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). John is both a good friend and a great guy; of course, I would want him to be successful. So I decided to push aside any feelings of envy and get excited for John’s success.
Do you know what happened? I blessed myself! Had I allowed envious thoughts to nest in my mind, I would have made myself miserable. On top of that, such selfishness is the mark of a poor friend. But by rejoicing with John, my own happiness increased, adding a nice touch to the end of a refreshing day in the woods.
Life is full of mysterious ironies; selfishness is one of them. We wrongly think that happiness comes only as we get what we want, but the need to get what we want only propels us down the road of misery. In addition, envy is like a cancer that consumes and corrupts the very fabric of one’s soul. In His wisdom, God has designed us to find true happiness by blessing others. When you unselfishly bless others, you bless yourself.
Do you want to be happy? Do you want to know how to bless yourself? (I’m not referring to making the sign of the cross!) Simply learn to rejoice in the success of others and you may find some wonderful changes taking place!