In the past few months I have been a lot of time in Chennai India. From the heat of the summer through the rains and even a cyclone, it has been an interesting opportunity to observe the lives of those that call this home. It is obvious that this is not an easy place to live. Transportation is a challenge. Water is often in short supply. Power outages are a normal event.
I could go on however there is something that stands out as a replay the scenes. More often than not, people are smiling. The normal stress of a city does not seem to impact them. In random moment, I watch a group of tall confident and inspiring street sweeping women walk towards me on the street in the early morning – I know life cannot be easy, but all I can see is that they are smiling and laughing. The as I get close I realize that the look on their face is true beauty on display.
I young man was standing on the edge of the street, trying to figure out how to cross in the middle of the evening rush hour. Everything was jamming around him. He was the one object that was not moving in a overwhelming mass of bicycles, auto rickshaws, cars, trucks, and more. Beyond the immediate possibility that someone would likely miss his presence and run over him, the fact that stood out was his smile. Frustration would have been natural. Impatience understandable. Instead, he was blissfully happy in a bizarre sort of way.
In both situations I was struck by the frustration within that threatens to spill out into the day. Everything within screams, “Do you see how many people have it in for me? How viciously they hate me?” (Psalm 25.19)
In contrast, I replay the scenes where Chennai’s Eyes are laughing, filled with hope. It would seem that they have something I need. Today will be an opportunity to open myself up to the lessons they have to teach me. Laughter and smiles are real possibilities.