"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Presenting Face

I was confronted with a thought provoking statement this morning in my quiet space (a.k.a. devotional time).  It simply read, "Reflect on the face that you present to other people."  I have to admit, I wasn't sure I wanted to do that ... especially at this season of the year when time seems to be our greatest commodity and traffic as well as lines at the post office and retailers our greatest irritation.

But what face do I present?  Do I offer people a CHEERFUL and GRACIOUS presence?  Is my smile mostly GENUINE or is it phony?  If like begets like, does mine cause another to be born in someone else's face?

Writing of her experience in Uganda where she had not yet learned the small village language,  Katie Davis relates in her book Kisses From Katie: "Although we were not able to speak to one another, we found many other ways of communication; the children seemed to know I loved them, and I knew they loved me, too. ... Days were spent learning to communicate, laughing hysterically with my students and trying to laugh at the frustrations that came with this new job."  In other words, the "face" Katie presented to those children was one of love and joy.  And they got it.

To some it is easy for me to offer graciousness in my face.  Those whom I love and enjoy, for example.  But to others -- those who are less desirable, those who irritate and rub me the wrong way, whose character offends me, whose own lives are so wracked with dysfunction that they don't even have it in them to be kind to their own self -- it is sometimes less so.  I don't have to speak an unkind word.  One look at my face, and they know.  

Could it be that a friendly smile is enough to make a difficult nature open up?  That a kind look really could heal a broken heart or just help someone make it through the next few hours?  I really think it could.  But what I'm coming to understand is that's not the real object.  The ultimate purpose in being kind -- in reflecting a gracious face and ultimately a gracious spirit ... especially to those who are less than deserving of such ... is to rejoice the heart of our Lord.

I'm convicted.  What about you?  To whom could you offer the gift of a pleasant face this week ... someone who needs such quiet affirmation -- and in the meantime, bring joy to the Lord as well? 

"For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  
Do not even the tax collectors do as much?  
And if you save your greetings for your brothers, 
are you doing anything exceptional?  
Do not even the gentiles do as much?  
You must therefore set no bounds to your love. ... 
In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, 
you did it to me." 
Matthew 5:46-48; 25:40

Just an ordinary moment...

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