It is as we read in 1 Corinthians 12:26; when one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part of the body is well, all the body is well. When one person is down, for any reason, often it brings others down. Everybody feels and carries that burden, often not knowing what it is they carry. When someone’s happy, then everybody is happy; life seems easier and the atmosphere is calm. From my experience, that is the simple reality of everyday life in community. There are obviously some people who are not affected by these feelings on such a level, and those who supress them. Some people don’t even notice. But that’s for another time.
Well my question is, what happens when one person is feeling down and the other feels happy? That is when it can get real messy. When a person is down, feels sad or has a bad day, then the person who is happy at that moment can seem very annoying. That makes them upset even more and they may close themselves into their own place of safety within. On the other hand it can be quite difficult for the person who’s very happy to understand the sadness of the upset person, and because, of its nature, cheerfulness is to be shared, they try to share it with them. That often seems to have an opposite effect, which may bring them down too or make them avoid the sad one.
For everyone else it can be difficult too. They may become angry and annoyed with the happy, cheerful person for making the upset person even more upset. That can also bring them down, so everybody is upset. Then some may join the happy person and avoid the sad one, some hide, and some join the upset person trying to reach out and help them. They are often disappointed and upset with others for not caring enough.
It obviously doesn’t have to be this way and most of time it is not. If this doesn’t resonate with you, that’s wonderful. I find myself in all of these roles, at different times. But let us be aware of what we project through our faces and our behaviour. Let us offer our suffering to Jesus. Let us be brave to ask for help when we’re in difficult mood. And let us always share joy with love and gentleness. Let us choose joy in the most difficult and upsetting moments for, however we feel, we are chosen, loved, anointed and precious children of God, saved by Him and sent out to the whole world. The whole world starts at our neighbour.
“Cheerfulness is a sign of a generous person who forgetting all things, even herself, tries to please her God in all she does for souls. Cheerfulness is often a cloak which hides a life of sacrifice, continual union with God, fervour and generosity.” (St Teresa of Calcutta)
“If you only knew what goes on within my heart. Sometimes the pain is so great that I feel as if everything will break. The smile is a big cloak which covers a multitude of pains.” (St Teresa of Calcutta)
“I want to smile even at Jesus and so hide if possible the pain and the darkness of my soul even from Him.” (St Teresa of Calcutta)