It dawned on me after the first entry on this topic that we cannot smile outwardly when there is no joy inside us. Smiles cannot be forced, though many try to do so. Genuine smiles, however, just bubble up with little or no effort.
As my son and I were posing for pictures a few weeks ago, he made a goofy sound in my ear which he knew I would react to. My daughter-in-law snapped the picture with both of us genuinely laughing before we did the “posed” smile. It has become one of my favorite pictures of us together. I remember a friend telling me once that he’d asked a young lady why she wasn’t smiling and she told him she was smiling inside. He responded that she should telegraph the message to her face. Well, love in the heart is easily telegraphed to the face.
People who know me well can always get me laughing when we recall events in our history that are comical or worth remembering. The long journey we walk as caregivers sometimes squashes the pleasant memories we have with our loved ones, thus making it more difficult to smile. Yet, when we think back, we can find something worth smiling about. It doesn’t change the situation, but it changes us. And isn’t that what smiling is all about? It is choosing to reside for a moment in what is pleasant and what is good. Smile.