“He is not here; he has risen!” – Luke 24:6
Great lessons can sometimes come from total strangers. We had one of those experiences one evening while dining at a neighborhood restaurant. Seated at a nearby table was a young couple and their daughter who seemed to be having a perfectly delightful time visiting, laughing and enjoying their meal. Nothing was particularly unusual except for the fact that their little girl was severely disabled and confined to a specially designed wheelchair. It wasn’t the child’s disability that captured our attention, though, rather it was the obvious pleasure this family had simply being together. The couple, while showing affection toward their disabled child and assisting her occasionally, otherwise treated her as a normal person, engaging her in their conversations. Neither did they dote over her in any way. What was most obvious about them, though, was a total absence of self-pity in spite of their circumstance.
Marianne Williamson, author of the best-selling book A Return to Love once said, “Our only job is to be an example of a life that is working.” That’s exactly what we witnessed from that young family, “an example of a life that is working”.
Happiness, you see, has little to do with circumstance and everything to do choice. No one has a perfect life – no one! Every life is plagued with some sort of hurt, grief, disappointment, disability, illness, financial strain, and any number of other hardships. The difference between those who embrace happiness and those who embrace self-pity is in the way they choose to deal with life’s imperfections.
In his poem Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, author, poet Wendell Berry offers these sage words, “So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it.” . . . . “Practice resurrection,” the poem concludes.
Sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it, the perfect example of a life that is working – a life that concludes not in self-pity, but with resurrection. For as the angel proclaimed, “He is not here; he is risen!” Alleluia!!