On Being Cheerful

I think cheerfulness is an under-rated virtue. To make others happy or light-hearted (which is what cheerfulness does) is indeed to strengthen them (which is what virtue does). But being cheerful is slightly different from cheerfulness itself. It implies something more lasting than a passing feeling, a transient mood; something that goes deeper than the smile on the face or the merry quip on the lips. It implies, I think, that one has acquired that stained-glass quality of letting the light shine through. To do that, one must first let the Light (note the capital letter) in. These lovely sunny days we are enjoying at the moment lift the mood but only the Light within can transform lives. Being cheerful has much to commend it.

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4 thoughts on “On Being Cheerful”

  1. I think, of it being a service to others. No matter what is going on in my life, without a cheerful smile as I pass someone, I might add to any personal devastation they might have in a catastrophic way.

    I have known an elderly man for years, who when asked how he is, replies ‘Oh, you know, my usual miserable self’. He really means that too! It’s almost too painful to be around him and maintain any cheerfulness at times. I know by things I have heard other people say, that they find him unbearable and a trial to be with too. So, when I hear someone ask how he is, I am saying ‘Oh noooooooooo, please, please don’t ask’ and my heart sinks. He’s faithful in his church attendance though, which perhaps doesn’t help their overall attendance figures.

    I am sure he doesn’t mean to speak the misery over himself and everyone else in his life, I think it’s just become habitual. But he’s also fiery in the same way Saul was with David, which can be very unpleasant to witness or be on the receiving end of.

    It’s problematic and confusing when a cheery disposition irritates someone who is lifted by it at other times.

    Thank you for your thought provoking post 🙂

  2. This is a profound post that calls each of us to reflect on how we greet each other and interact with each other. God calls us to create heaven on earth, to create community, and cheerfulness is the essential virtue. Thank you for articulating this so well.

  3. How I love your description of being cheerful as ‘having that stained glass quality of letting the Light shine through’.
    Thank you.

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