"Don't be sad!"
Baby Angie loved playing with her papa. She sat in her highchair at the breakfast table and the two of them "made faces" back and forth with each other. The game generated delightful laughter from both of them.
Papa illustrated words with facial expressions, and daughter followed suit. He would pass his hand down his face to reveal a sad, pouting countenance and say:
Then he would slide the same hand up over his face, exposing a smiling expression:
My brother and his firstborn explored fun ways of teaching and learning.
One cold wintry day I tagged along with my pregnant sister-in-law to run errands. Angie in her car-seat in the back was just fine, until her mom got out of the car. It would just be a quick stop, but Angie was too little to realize it. Apparently feeling abandoned, she began to cry.
I turned around to console her. "Oh, Honey, don't be sad! Be happy!"
She stopped crying mid-sob, as I repeated my brother's facial demonstration. "Be happy," I smiled at her.
She looked at me and a mischievous grin touched the corners of her mouth.
"No," she said, "Be sad!"
And so, we were all smiles and giggles by the time her mama returned to the car.
Ordinary life isn't just all happy, or just all sad. Life envelopes us in a hodgepodge of comedy and tragedy all mixed together at once. We can misunderstand a situation, and grieve unnecessarily. We can be the one to bring understanding and joy to bear, and lift someone's sad heart. And, we can determine to always seek the joy of the Lord, which is our strength, no matter the circumstances of the moment.
Some might call that being a "cockeyed optimist." I prefer to think of it in the words of Jesus:
"These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Now, that's the bottom line on "happy" for me.
quotation from John 16:33 American Standard Version
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