A fountain of gladness

I enjoyed seeing this fountain on my walks at Regent University, Virginia Beach, June 2016.

I enjoyed this fountain on my walks at Regent University, Virginia Beach, June 2016.

“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.” Washington Irving

During my days on campus this past month, there were some long hot lunchtime walks between the communications building (where I had classes) and the library.  Fortunately the campus is gorgeous and well shaded with countless trees, but on sunny days I still got a bit warm, especially if I was carrying an armful of books.

Halfway down the walkway between those two buildings, there’s a beautiful fountain.  Usually I did not take the time to venture up to enjoy it at close range, though it was tempting to do so. But even from a distance, it was refreshing to see.  Such spots of beauty set into lovely park-like surroundings really do lift the spirit and relax an overwhelmed mind.

I think Irving picked a perfect analogy in likening a kind heart to a fountain. Have you ever noticed that someone’s kindness can make a moment or hour sparkle with refreshing joy? Like water on a wilting plant, kindness can fortify and calm us with a renewed sense of worth and strength.  A kind heart radiates support and welcome to all who come near.

Today, I wish you many encounters with kindness, whether as the source, or the recipient, or both.  The world needs more gladness; let’s get out there and make a splash!



  1. Joyce McGirr

    What are you studying? Thank you for the lovely writing.

    • Hi Joyce, I am just finishing up the first semester in a PhD program in communications. It’s fascinating but so demanding, time-wise, that I wonder how much longer I will be able to keep it up. But it has been a welcome distraction from the many worries and sorrows that sometimes just overwhelm me. School forces me to focus on something totally removed from all the major stress. Of course, school is stressful in itself, but in an altogether different way.

      • LB

        I was going to ask the same question as Joyce. While I don’t doubt that it is overwhelming, I’m so glad you have this distraction from the worry and sadness. Despite those things, I’m cheering you of from the sidelines!

        • Thank you, Laurie. I just finished up a 15-page term paper on the ethics of undercover reporting. It was a huge effort, but fascinating and a good distraction. Learning is a great solace for me, as it always has been. I can hear you cheering! I so appreciate your support and friendship.

  2. Amen to that, Julia!

  3. Beautiful campus – reminded me of the green Kerala University Campus. Our block (Journalism-Botany – Zool. Depts) had a spacious garden which had definitely seen better days.
    Why is it so hard to be kind? It is great to be either the source or the recipient but still people are stingy with it.

    • Bindu, I too wonder why kindness seems to be in ever-shorter supply. When I take the time to show a bit of kindness, or am lucky enough to receive it, it seems to be such a simple way to make life happier. Perhaps we are too distracted and rushed. Or exhausted. In any case, I can’t remember ever feeling regret for doing anything kind, so I hope to grow better at it.

      I’m happy the photo reminded you of Kerala! Perhaps the next virtual walk we take together will be next time I’m at school. 🙂

  4. Anon E. Moose

    I do not know if I am capable of splashes. I have sent countless, perhaps imperceptible, ripples your way.

  5. Sheila

    Good Saturday morning, welcoming a beautiful weekend and a happy July 4th, my friend! I’m so delighted to think of you pausing to enjoy that fountain and then the photo and words that followed. I need to show my “gladness” more during these days of overwhelming remodeling. I’m not sure what I’ll have to talk about when it’s completed because it’s been so consuming for so many months! I took a few minutes yesterday to turn our calendar to July, after I found it (taken down for painting weeks ago). What a beautiful, inviting Verandah to enjoy ANYTHING! Thinking of you more often than you know! Hi to all your family… She💛🎉🇺🇸🎉🏖🐾🐥😎🌭🍔🙏

    • Sheila, I feel your pain! Remodeling is just so incredibly stressful. It’s something that’s hard to imagine until one lives through it. But I hope you will bask in the joy of having it all finished to your liking, very soon! BTW– regarding the July Verandah– WOW!! How did they do that? How did they manage to photograph my fantasy spot? I always thought it was in the French or English countryside, but come to find out it’s in Orange County, CA — I shouldn’t be surprised! Don’t worry, your chair is still there, it just doesn’t show in the photo. The tea cart is just inside the door, where Walter and Jack are dozing. Fresh scones baked this morning…

      • Sheila

        Julia, my Santa Barbara memories came rushing back as I looked at the beautiful “porch” for July. California has a special place in my heart. We loved Paso Robles as well! We visited a winery there that had most breathtaking views. I’ll tell you more while we lounging around on that Verandah. 💛🇺🇸🙏

        • Sheila, I can’t wait! I’ll bring extra tea. 😉

  6. Good morning, Julia!
    On Friday I had a fun encounter. I was desperate for a breakfast sandwich and running late, so I stopped at a McDonald’s because it was on the way ….
    The girl behind the counter had the most beautiful biggest-ever smile and laughing eyes, and she commented about having already been working a long time that day. I said, “oh, so you’ve already been up for a while?” “Yes!” she exclaimed, maintaining that same delighted expression, “and I’m here until 10 tonight!”
    I had to laugh as I wished her well; my first job (at 15) was McDonald’s and I know that on holiday weekends sometimes so many kids take vacations with their families that it really taxes the remaining employees. I’m hoping that she is greeted with kindness and big smiles this weekend, as she greeted me, bless her.

    • Susan, probably she will be. People who are sunny and have a good attitude tend to draw similar responses from at least some of the people they see. Isn’t it remarkable how much difference it makes when we treat each other as fellow humans in such “business” encounters? I remember working as a bank teller, making just over minimum wage, and how many of our customers were like friends to us. Some were quite wealthy and some barely made it paycheck to paycheck, but that didn’t really matter to us. Just knowing them as individuals, with all the typical human quirks that make us unique, made the job so much fun. Same goes for the 5 years I worked at Rich’s department store in Atlanta (while I was a high school and college student). Not long ago I read an article where people who work in public contact jobs such as restaurants, cashiers, etc. really do appreciate it when we look them in the eye, smile and greet them. I know these little exchanges brighten my day too. Thanks for spreading the cheer.

  7. What a lovely fountain to rest your eyes on, Julia. It makes me smile picturing you on campus, carrying an arm-load of books. You are truly in your element.

    • Thank you Alys. At nearly 60 years old and back on campus as a student for the first time since I finished grad school at UH in 1996, I felt out of place in many ways, but certainly not in the library! I guess some things never change.

  8. Trish

    Beautiful, my friend! You’ve been in my thoughts & prayers since we parted in mid-June. ❤

    • Thank you, Trish! I so appreciate your presence here. Our time on campus together feels a bit like an unreal dream right now, but the reality of getting all the work finished up keeps it in focus. I just finished up a long term paper for COM 785 (ethics) — a great course! Hope you are enjoying your summer. You are one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have met at Regent. So happy we connected.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: