My husband was diagnosed with an inoperable aortic aneurysm. The aorta would eventually rupture, and Cecil would suffer a painful death. We spent the next seven weeks in and out of the hospital, but mostly we spent quiet days at home. Cecil devoted himself to tying up loose ends and thinking about heaven. My time was spent trying to entice him to eat,
For some reason, we didn’t go to church during those weeks. I’m not sure why. I do know that Cecil was a very private person, and perhaps he did not want to expose himself to all that attention, but I missed church. I missed the support of my friends.
Cecil died on a Saturday afternoon. I was in church the next morning, but I felt strange, self-conscious, shy of people and what they might say. For the first time in my life, I did not know how to conduct myself.
We always sat in the second row on the right side of the center aisle. That was our place. I so looked forward to sitting where Cecil sat his arm draped across my shoulders. However, strangers had long since filled that space. I felt so alone wishing I had not come.
During “Meet and Greet” time, when congregants mill around hugging and shaking hands, a gentleman, whom I knew only slightly, walked across the aisle, put his arms around me, and let me cry on his shoulder. He said not a word. Instead, he laid his hand gently on my cheek, smiled into my eyes and returned to his seat.
Sunday after Sunday, for several weeks, he showed the same kindness. He gave a part of himself to me, and in so doing, he helped heal my hurt.
Many years ago, when my life was one big disappointment, my faith was in question, and joy and gladness had been taken from my plentiful field, I asked why. Why did I no longer experience the “joy of the Lord?”
A very wise man told me, “If you want joy in your life, you must learn to give yourself away.”
“You would be surprised,” he said, “at how much a lonely person would welcome a heartfelt smile.”
“There are so many lonely, hurting, needy people out there,” he continued. “At first you may not be able to do more than a smile, but as you make that effort, you will find yourself capable of more, and you will find the joy you are longing for.
By experience, I found that wise man’s counsel to be true.
For so long, because I was insecure, I had time only for those who made me feel good about me. When I began to look beyond my own needs to those of others—when I made an effort to reach out to them, I began to experience the joy that had been missing.
Most of us are too self-absorbed struggling to find the answer to our own needs.
A highly advertised dental business says that with their procedure they can “SET YOUR SMILE FREE.”
However, there is a better, less painful, less expensive way to obtain a free smile. The Holy Spirit will not only set your smile free, He will free your complete person to become a healer of broken hearts and pain-filled lives.
It is not necessary to be a preacher, a missionary or even a teacher in order to touch the needy. Just be you and God will use you.
Most people don’t want or even need another sermon. They need a smile, a touch, a listening ear, a story about what Jesus has done in your life. These things don’t cost a penny and require very little time. They can be accomplished in the checkout line, at the beauty shop, or in your driveway with a passing neighbor.
We are so blessed. Matthew 10:8 says, “… Freely you have received, freely give.”
Again in Matthew 10:48, “…if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones…he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Sunday evening, at home group, after more than five years, I had the opportunity to thank the gentleman, who stepped across the aisle to comfort me. He had forgotten. Not I!
Let our Lord “SET YOUR SMILE FREE!”
REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!