A few years ago, we had racial tensions in Dallas that threatened our peace all over the United States. As we watched the looting and burning and hate and killing on our television screens, the tension spilled into our souls. I had no personal involvement, yet the spirit of fear and anger was palpable and communicable through the airwaves. I felt it at the grocery store and standing in line at the post office. I felt it when I waved a greeting to our Black neighbors.
Later I was watching a Christian praise team leading worship service on YouTube and saw how easily their enthusiasm caught on with the congregation. The crowd was singing loudly, clapping, jumping, raising their hands, smiling broadly and shouting appropriately timed “Hallelujahs.” One doesn’t often see that in an ordinary church service led in the more traditional way. This led me to think, “The enthusiasm is contagious.”
In these days of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all keenly aware of the ways disease can easily spread. It travels through the air, mostly. It’s in our breath if we are a carrier. It may be on our hands, our clothing, so we are reticent to hug or shake hands or even give a high-five. Life is awkward because it is not natural for us to stand three or more feet away while we carry on conversation. We find ourselves shouting and wondering if our friends can see that we are smiling behind the mask.
Considering the way tension is spread, an atmosphere of praise is shared and a disease is transmitted, we can perhaps conclude that all of us are “contagious” all of the time. Our smile is often returned, our scowl makes people turn away, our yawn is replicated. So ought our joy to be spread around so easily.
I can walk into a room ever so happy, though, and if the room is full of angry people, the sadness overwhelms me. It is hard to keep smiling. I can easily succumb to the atmosphere of the crowd. If I can find but one person willing to cooperate in my effort to remain optimistic, together we can win the day. Won’t you partner with me? I’m contagious!
Put some sunshine in your pocket: https://youtu.be/ru0K8uYEZWw
Or a contagious happy song: https://youtu.be/ZbZSe6N_BXs