Everyone carries an atmosphere about him. It may be healthful and invigorating, or it may be unwholesome and depressing. It may make a little spot of the world a sweeter, better, safer place to live in; or it may make it harder for those to live worthily and beautifully who dwell within its circle.
We are responsible for this atmosphere. Our influence may be involuntary in its final effect. We cannot wholly change it from evil to good on any particular day by a mere volition. It is something that belongs to our personality.
It is an emanation from our character; and our character is the growth of all our years, what has been built up in us by all the lessons, experiences, impressions, and influences of life, from childhood. Hence it is that the atmosphere that hangs about us any day is, in a large degree, involuntary.
At the same time we are responsible for it. We are responsible for our character — our own hands have made it what it is. If a man has trained himself to be discontented and unhappy, so that wherever he goes he makes others about him less happy, he may not blame heredity, or original sin, or environment, for his unfortunate disposition. No doubt natural tendency or early influences may make it harder for a man to be sweet-spirited and sunny-tempered; but because it is hard to be good, because there is much to overcome, one need not give up the endeavor as useless and unavailing.
Cheerfulness, therefore, is a duty. Perhaps we have not thought of it in this way. We regard it as a pleasant disposition. We consider the person happily endowed who is naturally cheerful. But we do not usually put cheerfulness among duties, as we do truthfulness, honesty, patience, kindness.