Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Smile Doesn't Have to Mean You are Happy

Sometimes we smile as a demonstration of what we are feeling inside.  Sometimes we smile as a reflection of what we see outside of us.  Both are true, genuine and valid.

A smile can say ...

"Good morning.  I hope you have a lovely day."

"I am so glad to see your face."

"I am thankful to be your Mama."

"That outfit looks great on you."

"Don't worry.  You are going to be OK."

"I am so proud of what you accomplished."

"It is good to be in church today.  This is what my heart needs."

"I feel comfortable and safe in your company."

"I appreciate how you have served my family."

"Thank you for letting me cross the street in front of your car."

"What you said was witty and amusing."

"I love what you made/brought me."

"I'm not upset that you were standing in front of the celery I was reaching for."

"Thank you for your hospitality."

It is alright to smile even when you are not feeling peaceful, fulfilled and happy in every sense.  It's not being fake.  It's giving of yourself in a way that blesses others - even strangers.  In fact, sometimes the greatest acts of love are when we give from our lack, rather than our abundance (Mark 12:43-44).  When you have nothing else to offer, you can often still give a smile.

Of course, the flip side of this is to remember that we can't always read those we love by how many smiles they have to share.  A person who struggles with emotional highs and lows learns how to continue on with life, how to encourage and comfort those around her, even if she doesn't feel encouraged and comforted inside.  She knows that her feelings may or may not reflect the reality around her and she learns how to reflect in her face what she believes to be truth, rather than just simply how she feels about it.

She smiles at a toddler with a scraped knee to say, "Don't worry.  We'll get you all taken care of.  You don't need to be afraid" even when she would like to cry from sheer exhaustion.  She smiles at a child and says "I am so glad that you are my son and I am your mother.  I am living the life I always dreamed about" even if she can't figure out why her emotions haven't seemed to get the message.

So please, take time to ask good questions and be ready to listen.  She who smiles much gives much of herself.  And maybe, just maybe, she might be in need of some re-filling.  It's not necessary (or sometimes even possible) to "make her happy".  It is only necessary to ask, to listen and to affirm that what she is doing is good, beautiful and valuable.  And to reassure her that you are a safe place where she can talk, cry and be refreshed in order to go back into the world and smile one more time.

No comments:

Post a Comment