For decades I was irked when I would encounter what I called The Concept of Limited Good; the notion that there is only so much GOOD STUFF to go around, and if one person got it, there was less for me. Of course there are levels to this false belief. There are the harmless expressions like “You’re so pretty. I hate you!” And there are the grimy resentments because so-and-so got the job you applied for. And then there are the bitter tears because THAT girl got married, and you are still alone.
When God opens a door for one, He closes a window for another.
When we consciously or subconsciously believe there isn’t enough good to go around, tragically, it becomes true. Less good comes our way (or at least we notice it less). Now perhaps we don’t delight in the misfortune of others, but we may feel like victims of their good fortune.
ALL OF THIS IS A LIE! The more we can celebrate the good (in ours or other’s lives), the more we receive. This may, in part, be because the more we see, the more we SEE. But I also believe gratitude and MUDITA make us magnets for blessings. God rewards a grateful heart.
I ran across this Sanskrit word a few years ago and it resonated with me. Last year while reading The Book of Joy it seemed to glow on the page and therefore became “My Word” for 2019. I think it hits me so hard because it’s the opposite of the Concept of Limited Good.
This year, I’ve been seeking Mudita.
I don’t have an abundance of spiritual gifts, but I have been blessed with the lack of an envious heart. I don’t catch myself resenting others for their blessings, or wishing I had what they had, so I thought it would be an easy attribute to acquire. But Mudita goes a step further. It CELEBRATES the blessings of others. As I’ve tried to consciously apply that, it felt a little awkward. I mean, there are the obvious things to celebrate with/for someone (basically all things new: Job, marriage, baby, etc.) But on a daily basis, I wanted to cheer for others and celebrate them, without piously counting their blessings for them.
So I looked around for examples. I didn’t have to look far. My friend Jan embodies Mudita. I felt it in the way she listened with genuine interest, even if what I was talking about wasn’t interesting. I felt it in the way she gave me unique compliments that said “I really see you.” I saw it on social media. Within our shared network of friends and associates, I noticed that she was generous with her ‘likes’ and often accompanied them with heartfelt comments of support. Jan made Mudita uncomplicated for me. Being around Jan is like being in a warm hug. She’s not an exaggerated character who seems to adore every stranger, lavishes you with praise, or plasters on a fake smile for everyone she sees. She’s genuine. But she showed me that Mudita is simply living with your eyes wide open to God’s blessings, and being grateful for them wherever they land.