You may recognize the above question as the punch line to an old (and very bad) joke. Oh…you remember it, don’t you? A horse walks into a bar and the bartender asks him, “Why the long face?” See, I told you it was a bad joke. But, it does make a point. We choose to wear a long face, the perpetual scowl, or to be bright and cheerful. We choose to brighten up our lives with the sunshine of a smile, or dampen our day (and everyone’s around us) with the clouds of frowns. And more importantly, our words carry with them either life or death.
Let me give you an example. The other day I had a customer call for me at the office. I was detained with something so a co-worker fielded the customer’s inquiries. After some minutes of sharply worded questions and rather mean-spirited comments, my co-worker reported to me, “I’m quite sure that lady’s name was not Joy.” Conversely, my daughter and son-in-law stopped by the other evening with their dog, Priscilla, a wisp of a ball of fur, decked out in a Superman Halloween costume. The sight of the pup streaking toward Mittens, our moody cat, with red cape fluttering and a large yellow “S” emblazoned on her chest in a field of blue was enough to bring laughter immediately into the room. We slapped our knees at the absurdity of the sight and even more at Mittens as she streaked for the safe harbor of her hiding place under our bed. An hour of smiles, conversation and simple fun-filled banter followed.
In thinking back on that evening, I am reminded of Psalm 15:13, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” By the time they left, we all had a ‘cheerful countenance.’
In book three of The Peacemakers Series, “Season of Justice,” you will be introduced to a new character, Biff Stewart. You will like Biff. In fact, you will wish you had a friend like Coach Stewart. He is almost always in a great mood with a merry heart, a cheerful countenance, and a full bag of good-natured practical jokes. For Biff, life is meant to be enjoyed. In my mind’s eye I can see him with a perpetual grin and teeth looking like polished headstones.
What about you? Are you enjoying life? What direction do the corners of your mouth turn—upward or downward? If you were to walk into a bar, would the bartender ask, “Why the long face?”