Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Yesterday I returned from my hometown, Johor Baru where my siblings and their families are still residing in and where they still have their work and businesses. Lorna and I went there to celebrate our Chinese New Year. We had not gone home for a number of years now and indeed, it was a trip well worthy the time and effort. I felt that this Chinese New Year visit was very different from the previous years.

For one, it was a time when my eldest sister’s husband had just passed on a week before the CNY and therefore her family was in mourning, as it was part of Chinese tradition. We could not wear red colored clothing as a mark of respect. So when we visited her family together with our other siblings and family, it was without all the festive greetings but yet the love and comfort was felt throughout the whole time we were there. There was laughter and reminiscence of our growing up years. It was unlike those other years when a seeming tension was in the air and everyone just wanted to get over the traditional house visitation. This year we didn’t want to move but had to move on to the next home because of time. There was merriment in the face of mourning. Perhaps this is what turning our mourning in to joy means??

Our next visit was to my younger brother’s home and this is where I noticed a tremendous change in my brother Kuang. He used to run a books and magazine shop and was quite successful. His success was reflected in the car he used to drive and the way he used to lavish himself and his family. However, we never saw the joy in his face and his disposition. He was always tensed and short tempered and was rather aloof with everyone, like he had a lot on his mind. He never smiled a lot nor had any meaningful conversations with anyone. However, in the last two years, his business took a dive and he had to close shop. His children became jobless because they were working for him. Thankfully they went on to find their own jobs and Kuang went onto work for his neighbor who is selling IT hardware business and he became his deliveryman. He obviously made a lot less than what he had used to make but the difference was Kuang was a happy man! He had been transformed from one end to the other and I liked what I saw. He discovered he had this gift for cooking and made a sumptuous meal for us and he especially made reserved the best for us and ensured that those portion had not been prayed over (they have yet to receive Jesus Christ). I have not seen him genuinely smile and laugh for a long time. He was able to crack jokes and everyone had a great time in his home. For once this brother of mine took special care of us and gave us some of his best cookies. I jokingly told him that he missed his destiny as a chef! Indeed he is a man of many talents and I am praying that God will draw him to his destiny.

Indeed, a merry heart can change the disposition, the spiritual makeup and the emotional well being of a man when they are willing to be humbled. Even though he does not know the Lord yet, Kuang is beginning to learn contentment and though he may not know what is a servant’s heart, he has certainly learnt to serve.

In his earlier days as a “successful” businessman, I believe he was going through all sorts of stress and tensions in trying to keep up his “status”. Seeking for abundant wealth has a price to pay and we often pay it with our life.

Biologically speaking, life is in the blood and if our bone marrow stops producing blood, we will suffer all sorts of diseases and eventually die. Spiritually speaking, an unforgiving spirit will also cause death, as it will pollute our soul. So, set ourselves free to live in merriment and we will live.