Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rejoice And Be Glad

Published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail today, March 6, 2011

It’s a dreary day—the kind that makes some of us feel less than cheerful. On a day like this, I find myself turning on every light in the house – even the window candles – and playing the liveliest music I can find at very high volume. Today, I am reminded of an incident from many years ago when I sold real estate.

Perhaps it would be more honest to say, I attempted to sell real estate.  Selling was never my strong point. I was more than slightly likely to say to a prospective buyer, “You wouldn’t want to look at a house on Main Street, would you?” A lady once asked me on the phone, “What does the house look like on the outside?” I answered, “It’s fine if you like bright green.” Needless to say, she didn’t wish to inspect the house, and I never heard from her again. My Broker told me I wasn’t “hungry enough” to sell real estate. He wasn’t trying to insult me; he was just wise enough to know the truth when he saw it.

Sorry, I digress.

One misty March morning, it was as gloomy as it is today when I arrived at the office for a meeting. When I walked through the door, our secretary, a sweet Christian lady, greeted me cheerfully. “Good morning, Peggy!  How are you?” Her lilting voice almost irritated me. I answered, “What’s good about this morning? It’s dark and depressing and I’d rather have stayed in bed all day!”

My sharp reply didn’t dampen this lady’s spirits for one minute. You see, her Godliness was apparent!  She lived it twenty-four hours a day! Her whole face lit up with a smile as she softly said, “Peggy, this is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)

Looking back, I’m sure she must have relished the chance to set my thinking straight. And she did just that. I apologized right away and ever after that, I’d enter the office with a smile on my face, even if it had to be forced, and say in as cheerful a voice as I could muster, “Good morning! How are you today?”

Funny thing though: after a while, it wasn’t pretense anymore. I actually began to enjoy mornings, no matter what the weather. I started to see and feel things I had not been aware of before. I noticed that there’s nothing like the smell of an early morning rain in springtime; I had forgotten what it was like to step outside and be met with the sweet fragrance of fresh cut grass glistening with dew; I felt genuine excitement when I awakened to hear birds singing outside my window – very early, before dawn. I had never noticed the intensity of their twittering before.  It was like an early morning concert.  Driving to work, I passed an entire field of dandelions – not the most beautiful flower by far – but it was easy to appreciate the cheerfulness of a meadow turned bright yellow by this iconic spring flower.

As seasons changed, I became newly acquainted with the early morning sights and sounds of each that I had either forgotten or been too busy to notice.  I felt as if I had been sleep-walking all of my life.  Thankfully, my friend in the real estate office was able to awaken me by reminding me that each day God makes for us is special and worthy of our time and attention.

Since any one of these days could be our last, let us remember to rejoice and be glad in each of them!