I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror as I passed by recently and I did a double-take. Who is that woman, the one with the glum expression, the drooping face, the sad eyes?
Taking stock of the image most people see when I’m not “on”, when I’m lost in myself, I was struck by how much of my inner condition is reflected in the expression I bear — and how little joy.
I am normally a happy person. In fact, some have accused me of being a Pollyanna (an excessively cheerful or optimistic person according to Oxford Dictionaries).
So why so glum?
There have been trials, disappointments, heartaches and pain throughout the past year. Just like many of you, I’ve soldiered on, making the best of bad situations, looking on the sunny side. But I’ve carried them in my heart, and they’re showing in my countenance.
Have there not also been joy and happiness in the past year? Yes! Why do they not show up in my “resting” face.
I realize that more often than not, I’ve let happiness roll off my back because it’s burdened with sorrow. I’ve taken my eyes off joy because I’ve been focused on the path I’m walking.
An old English proverb says the eyes are a window to the soul. Yet another contemplative says the soul is the window.
I believe both are true. It’s there in my eyes. And, if you looked into my soul, you would be looking into my life, into all the events that have brought me to this day, this place, this season.
What Matthew and Luke say in their gospels might come closer to the truth:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”
Where we put our focus will illuminate the whole of our being. If I continually draw darkness into my sight, it will show in my countenance.
Advent is as good a time as any to ponder the many ways God has shown me and those I love favor, not just in the past year but throughout time — and, yes, even through the difficulties that are just part of life.
I need a facelift. The truest, most inexpensive way I can think of to accomplish that is to shed some light on this admonition from the Apostle Paul, written 2,000 years ago to the residents of Philippi (and to you and me):
“….whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Speaking of smiles, I participated in customer service training at Great Lake Chocolate and Coffee last week. It was fun learning more about the company I work for, about chocolate and coffee, and about people.
Here’s my latest “Observation from the Coffee Shop” — our customers want a smile with their coffee. Our GLCC trainer Strawberry (yes, that IS her name) helped us learn there are four things customers should receive along with their Peppermint Mocha:
Smiles, Acknowledgement, Genuine Care, Knowledge
And don’t we all want this, not just when we get coffee, but every day we put ourselves out there in this big, cold world. Serve me up a smile and a hearty “hello”, ask me how my day is going and send me on my way with confidence that you know what you’re doing, and I’ll be back for more.