Sunshine and Scowls

You will surely have noticed how even a little sunshine seems to lighten everyone’s mood. Yesterday a chilly start was followed by one of those bright May days which lure the bees to the apple blossom and put a smile on everyone’s faces. No doubt by the end of the week we’ll be back to our usual scowly selves, as the weather turns wetter and colder. It is humbling to realise that we are creatures of such evanescent moods.

At the risk of sounding like a third-class spiritual self-help book, may I suggest that praying for the grace of cheerfulness is a very good idea, especially when we know we are not at our jolliest. Many years ago I was working in the Bodleian (Cantabs have been known to venture into alien territory at times). It had been a long, hot, rather disappointing day. I had not found the information I was looking for, and my temporary digs were remarkably uninviting. The librarian at the desk looked worn out, but when I gave her back the book I had been reading and thanked her, she gave me such a brilliant smile I have never forgotten it. It was a moment of pure grace. Cheerfulness, too, is a way of proclaiming Christ and welcoming him in others.


15 thoughts on “Sunshine and Scowls”

  1. Yesterday I walked three times along the same bit of road but the sun was out lighting the fresh new leaves in the varying colours from very dark, to light and darker and one on the right in full cherry blossom. Just wonderful but a smile and a friendly word can also brighten one’s day.

    My daily reading of your blog and the prayer requests also has this brightening effect. Some responses give additional reasons for prayer and for these too I give thanks. I was able to pray for someone’s Viva and your travelling away from the monastery and those left behind.

    Let us pray that we can also brighten someone’s day today and every day.

  2. Sometimes we get bogged down with cares and woes and the veneer that we face the world with is blemished. I don’t believe that I do that often, but perhaps enough for it to be remarked on by those who know me.

    But a smile doesn’t hurt and it can be the difference between the darkness and light in our lives if we’re feeling a bit care worn. You demonstrate here the truth of that and have brightened my day already.

  3. Ages ago you wrote, “Praying for tweeps especially those determined to have a bad day- you know who you are : ) and those equally determined to be joyful. ” I copied it down and asked that I could be one of the determined to be joyful ones. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. One of the memories I treasure from our brief stay a few weeks ago in Ireland (County Wexford mainly) was the smile and cheerful ‘hello’ from complete strangers in the streets and shops. Lovely people! I will try to emulate them!

  5. Dear Digitalnun you are so right on this one. I had literally just finished wrestling with an unco-operative and recalcitrant computer when I read your piece! I just burst out laughing at myself. Cheerfulness restored, temper smoothed. Now I can smile and go back to check if my piece has ‘saved’ or not. Thank you.

  6. Smiles and kindness are catching – I’ve often noticed that the car I let out of a junction will go on to do the same for another……mind you, eventually I’m going backwards but everyone else is doing well! Seriously, though, thank you again Sr for a thoughtful blog. Incidentally – just caught up with you on Songs of Praise – evensong got in the way on Sunday – lovely to see and hear you non-digitally – Quiet Nun and Bro Duncan, too!

  7. How lovely to hear of the welcome you found in the Bodleian – especially in view of today’s post on tolerance meaning a welcoming of strangers!

  8. Smiling is infectious,
    You catch it like the flu,
    When someone smiled at me today,
    I started smiling too.
    I passed around the corner,
    and someone saw my grin,
    When he smiled I realized,
    I’d passed it on to him .

    I thought about that smile,
    Then I realized its worth,
    A single smile just like mine,
    Could travel round the earth.
    So if you feel a smile begin,
    Don’t leave it undetected –
    Let’s start an epidemic quick
    And get the world infected!

    Seen at Great Western Hospital,
    Swindon, 19 January 2011.

  9. Thank you for your inspirational blog. I often think about Barnabas. What a ray of sunshine he must have been to be universally known as a son of encouragement and what a blessing to people’s lives. I pray that God uses me as a daughter of encouragement everywhere I go. I notice that people can broadly fall into two groups – radiators and hoovers. Hoovers “suck” all the joy and vitality from a conversation, situation or room with their negativity but Radiators emanate warmth and comfort and love, and draw people near to them in the cold and harsh world. I try very hard to be a radiator!

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