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.