As I sat on the ground at the funeral surrounded by at least two hundred friends and neighbors, I thought about her life. It couldn't have been an easy one. Village life means no electricity, walking to the pump every day for water, cooking over a fire for meals. Nothing is simple. Work is hard. She grew her own food, and washed her cloths by hand with water carried from the pump. There was no pain medicine for arthritis, or a pill to ease her comfort when she was sick.
And yet what I remember about her is her smile. She sat by me several times at church, and I was drawn to that smile. She would sit and talk to me, even though I had no idea what she was saying in the local language. She always made me smile. To me, she was a light in that village that I loved seeing every time I was there.
It also reminded of how much I have to be thankful. And that I don't have to have things to make a difference in someone else's life. I can smile at a stranger. Encourage a co-worker. Call a hurting friend. Pray with someone who needs God's healing hand.
Whatever our situation, may we all use this coming year--myself included--to be a light to those around us.
"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13