With little effort we can bring brightness into our daily lives just by changing the expression on our faces. Joseph Addison said, “What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. They are but trifles, to be sure, scattered along life’s pathway. The good they do is inconceivable.” When someone says the word “mother”, do they think of a haggard worn out angry lady who is tired and exhausted from chasing little ones and cleaning up messes? When someone says the word “dad”, do they see a man who is always away at work and barely home on weekends only to be off again to work a second job or go fishing?
Are there smiles in our lives? Smiles tell people that we are glad to see them. Smiles say we are proud of that basket ball shot or that tumble on the mats. We should learn to greet our friends with a smile; they carry enough frowns of their own to be bothered with ours. Have you ever noticed that smiles are contagious? If you smile at someone they will smile back even if you don’t know them. Smiles know no language barrier.
Smiles can even go before the feelings. There is a story of a man who was challenged to smile at everyone he met for two weeks. He was not known for smiling at all. When he shaved that first morning he looked in the mirror and said today I’ll smile at everyone. He told his wife, “Good Morning” and smiled. She looked at him a bit apprehensively.
Everyone he greeted it was the same. The feelings followed and his life became much happier. His home became much happier. Other people smiled at him and greeted him with a happier greeting. This has lasted much more than two weeks. The feelings followed. He got results he did not expect.
The Apostle Paul said, “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians) and “Rejoice in the Lord always.” (Philippians 4:4). There are 180 times that the word joy or joyfulness is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. The old prophet Nehemiah says that it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength. When we have the hope of the Lord in our heart then it is easy to let the shine of a smile come forth and spread to those around.
Mother Teresa, the Nobel prize-winning nun who spent her life helping the sick in Calcutta, India always gave the gift of a smile. Some of her ideas about smiles were that peace begins with a smile, smile five times a day at someone you don’t really want to smile at at all, do it for peace.
In Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1 and 4 it says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”. When there is a time to mourn there may not be very many smiles, but the time will come when the smiles will return.
If you need help finding the smiles and you need to find the strength of the joy in the Lord may I leave you with this Psalm. “Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43: 4 – 5) May the joy of the Lord be your strength and may smiles greet you at each turn you make.