Fresh Hope – 4th July 2017

My Mom and Dad have lived in the same house for all their married life.
One of the highlights of growing up there were the fields right opposite the house. We would go over there as kids almost everyday during the summer holidays and would be out for hours on end. Whenever we left the house to go there we would shout behind us that we were going over the ‘banks’, as that’s what they were. Banks of unkempt grass, trees and ponds on all levels. It was a pretty amazing place to spend your childhood.

The day arrived when the council decided to completely flatten the whole area and turn it into a beautiful flat playing area. Once again it became the perfect place for us as teenagers to then play football. Part of the excitement for me was watching from the window for months on end as excavators transformed the place that had played a big part in our young lives.

All these years later, the ‘Lister Road field’ as it is called to this day, is to be divided into two, with half of being turned into a car park for council workers at the adjacent incinerator plant.

The residents, including my parents, are up in arms about it and a few days ago have had the local MP come down for a residents meeting, which took place on the field. Reporters and photographers for the local newspapers turned out to captureĀ a shot of the gathering so that the voice of the community could be heard.

When the photograph appeared last weekend in the papers for all to see, each of the residents had been asked to make an angry face for the camera. However, my Dad not being able to hear too well didn’t know what was being said, so imagine now the photo of all the angry residents, with my Dad right at the front with his usual beaming smile saying CHEESE for the camera!

It has caused great fun in our family especially as we could hear my Mom laying into him as to why he was smirking all over his face at such an angry meeting.

I have to say however that this picture is a great way of looking at life. You may have enough going on right now to make you concerned, annoyed and even angry, and the folk around you may be trying to pursue you to behave just like they are doing in the situation. Sometimes though we have to just go ‘deaf’ to what’s going on around us and make a decision to smile your way through it. It’s almost guaranteed that the focus of everyone’s attention when opening the newspaper is not on the angry faces of the residents, but on my Dad’s big smile.

Learn to smile through your storm today and you’ll not only change what’s happening inside of yourself, but you will positively effect everyone around you too.

Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

Pastor Mark

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