Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bahamian Blogging #7: The Smiling Student

He was funny and cute and full of energy. When the opportunity to perform for us was announced, he was the first one to our makeshift stage (really just a clearing in the front of the room).  He had a beautiful, enormous smile as he began to sing one of my favorite show tunes. "Summertime, and the living is easy..." Indeed, after this very difficult winter we've had, summer does promise a much easier time, and I'm longing to see the new season that will bring a little lighter work load on my farm. My thoughts were all about my own upcoming summertime in rural Mississippi.

I loved his music, enjoyed all the memories associated with the song, and anticipated that new season as he sang. Much as I hate to admit it, I had not one thought about that sweet young man's upcoming summertime. If there was even a hint of trouble or personal concern in his musical delivery, I completely missed it.  His enthusiasm never wavered. 

I had no way of knowing, but that smiling student's father was gravely ill. In less than twenty-four hours, his father would be dead. The summertime he faces is not likely to bring easy living, and is dramatically different than the one I anticipate. 

I wish I'd known, and offered hope and comfort in the same measure he offered smiles and songs. I'm left wondering how many of the big smiles that greet me every day are hiding enormous burdens and overwhelming grief. How much pain do I overlook because I fail to see past the enthusiasm and the toothy grins? How much pain do you overlook?

As you anticipate the coming week, join me in praying for this smiling student and his family during their time of grief and loss. Join me, too, in making an effort to look past the smiles for the hurt and pain hidden deep inside. Perhaps, by seeing a little more clearly, we can offer the Balm of Gilead to those who need it most and show it the least.