Marie was a single mother of two children in a rural Missouri community. She worked full-time during the day and sold handcrafted leather gifts on weekends. She also dedicated much spare time to numerous charities and community projects.
Then one day Marie received some shocking news from her doctor. She had cancer, and it was spreading rapidly. She had barely enough resources to put a cent in the medical treatments she would need.
Soon, Marie witnessed what she had always known: although she was not financially wealthy, she already had the most valuable possessions on earth. Hundreds in her community and surrounding areas teamed up to help her and her family.
Many people she had touched in caring ways demonstrated appreciation for Marie's life. Marie did not live to see the day when her bills were fully paid. However, she lived long enough to feel the love of those she had cheerfully served.
The spirits of love and gratitude multiply when they are shared. Happiness is the result of sharing love and gratitude. Giving selflessly was a value that Marie displayed all her life, and her spirit of giving lived after her in those who knew and loved her.
All her life, Marie had demonstrated the truth of this simple principle: happiness will not come from worldly possessions or fortune. Rather, it is an attitude that comes from appreciating what we already have. We can find the happiness we seek if we will first share it with others. Then—and only then—we will have the most valuable possessions on earth: love, happiness, and increasing gratitude.