This is not intended as a “my granddaughter is better than yours” kind of message. Everyone likes to think their child is special, and indeed they are. But Ella truly seems to be an exceedingly happy little girl. She has big, expressive and bright eyes and a number of versions of a big smile that she displays frequently. It is easy to elicit a grin from her. I seem to recall that babies often wake up from a nap a bit on the cranky side at times. Not Ella. Most frequently when she wakes up we find her in her little bed cooing away, and as soon as she sees one of us she flashes that huge grin. Her natural state is to be interested in whatever is going on around her and to be happy. She is not perfect. She has her moments of crankiness or fussiness, but they are generally far between.
Who wouldn’t want to be like Ella? Obviously I don’t mean like her in the sense of having all the limitations that go with being six months old. I mean being a person who brings sunshine to the lives of others. It is easy for us to think little about how our moods and attitudes affect other people. We are mostly consumed with whatever is going on in our own lives. We often are preoccupied, stressed and maybe even a little cranky because we are not happy with what is happening. We might even be known to complain every now and then.
When we present to the world a frown or possibly a brow furrowed by stress and anxiety we can be quite sure that we are not bringing sunshine into other people’s lives. The only way we can bring sunshine is if we are living in peace, hope and joy, and are quick to share a smile with others. My point is not that we should pretend to be happy all the time, but that we need to think about how our moods and the face we present to the world impacts other people. Even deeper we need to think about what is going on inside of us. Are we filled with discontentment, unhappiness and worry? I hardly think that is the life to the fullest that Jesus came to bring us. Ella challenges me to ask myself two questions. First, am I experiencing the fruit of the spirit? And second, am I thinking about how my mood and my actions are affecting others? Am I lifting their spirits or am I bringing unhappiness and discouragement to those around me? Surely if we obey our Lord and love others we will desire to lift their spirits. Ella certainly does that for Laurie and me. She makes me want to do that for others.