Excerpted from a series of lectures delivered in 1923 by
Worshipful Brother Norman B. Hickcox
Evans Lodge No. 524 A.F.& A.M. (IL)
The habit of contentment is formed, not from without, but from within; and it is a wonderfully satisfying habit to own.
We must learn to be content with what we have. A quiet home; vines of our own planting; a few books full of the inspiration of genius; a few friends worthy of being loved, and able to love us in return; a hundred innocent pleasures that bring no pain or remorse; a simple religion, full of trust and hope and love--to such a philosphy this world will yield all the joy it has.
There is no duty we so much underestimate as the duty of being happy. By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world which remain unknown even to ourselves; or when they are disclosed, surprise nobody so much as the benefactor. A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a fifty-dollar bill. He or she is a radiating focus of good will, and their entrance into a room is as though another lamp had been lighted.
Nothing on earth can smile but man! Gems may flash reflected light, but what is a diamond-flash compared to an eye-flash and a mirth-flash? Flowers cannot smile; this is a charm that even they cannot claim. It is the prerogative of man; it is the color which love wears and cheerfulness and joy--these three. It is a light in the windows of the ace, by which the heart signifies it is at home and waiting. A face that cannot smile is like a bud that cannot blossom, and dries up on the stalk. Laughter is day and sobriety is night, and a smile is the twilight that hovers gently between both--more bewitching than either.
To that I would only add that twelve lectures were prepared by WB Norman B. Hickox, and he gave one each month he was Master of Evans Lodge. The lecture he prepared on the topic of happiness was the 11th one he gave on November 13th, 1923, and it was one of the longest. From that you can surmise that WB Hickox thought happiness was indeed one of the most important subjects he wanted to cover. I couldn't agree more--as those of you who follow this blog know, I write on that subject a great deal. The subject of human happiness is a very misunderstood concept. As with many things in our modern society, we tend to make it way harder than it actually is.
~Todd E. Creason