For the two years I spent running my Masters programme, I was opportune to stay with a particular family, sometimes for weeks or for months. Each time, I have been amazed at this exuberance and ever-smiling wife and mother of four.
Her cheerful dispositions, joyous countenance and contagious outbursts of laughter were really intoxicating (You might only find a stern face when she is correcting her kids). There were times in the kitchen,while preparing dinner, we would talk, chat and laugh, and at other times, I would stamp my feet out of much laughter.
I saw how relaxed her teenage daughters were and how her sons enjoyed her presence as they watched wild life. Her husband, whom I’ve known to have this gentle ‘pastoral’ personality, surprised me when they both began to tease each other and laugh (hmmmm…and I’m like, even Pastors can have a lighter side to their personality.)
On a Saturday morning, Mummy(that’s how we refer to elderly women where I come from) had to go for choir rehearsals. When she left the house, I felt this dullness pervade the atmosphere.
Of course there were times when Mummy didn’t talk, especially when she is engrossed in one of her many ‘Left behind’ series, yet her silence was in itself intriguing. There were days when she didnt seem too happy but then she had a way of reverting back to her joyous self. But on this day, It was obvious to everyone that someone important had stepped out. Even her husband seems to feel her absence.
When she returned, she walked into our room and gave me that infectious smile again. it stirred my spirit. I had missed her sweet voice ringing out from the living room or her laughter reaching beyond the walls to the room where I occupied.
Smiles can do wonders in our relationship with others. How sad to find that in our minds, we have a pre-set attitude whenever anyone approaches us. We are quick to give them those frowns that says ‘back off’ and then wonder why people aren’t comfortable around us.
There is a joy that the Holy Spirit brings. A joy that even in the midst of difficult situations, our hearts are excited which ultimately reflect on our faces.
When people come around us, are they excited to see us or do they, by their actions, wish we leave as quickly as possible?
When last did we give someone a smile even when we didn’t feel like it?
Do we love people genuinely or do we just pretend to love them so we could get something from them? (trust me, if it’s not real, they will eventually find out)
How often do we hug and peck our kids or run into the arms of our spouse? Or have we become known as the nagging woman at home?
I believe with help of the HolySpirit, we can stop complaining about people’s flaws, murmuring about what someone did or didn’t do, frowning every time things get difficult, speaking hurting words to our friends because we are angry or upset, chasing strangers away with our looks so that we become so unapproachable.
Let God work on that tough, rigid, unbending and unemotional nature today.