This evening I’m steeped in fatigue and rocking a migraine, but still felt this burning need to write.
Earlier today I was paid one of the nicest compliments. This older gentleman at church walked up to me and said, “You know, I really enjoy when I’m participating in the service because while I’m sitting up front I get to see you smile. I just wanted you to know that you have the prettiest smile that just lights up a room and brings joy to everyone who sees it. Thanks. You made my day.”
The truth is, I’m always smiling. It’s a big part of who I am. It’s how I share my passion for life with the world (well, besides the writing and the singing), and it’s one of the ways I try to contribute to making the world a better place. My mom and sister are the same way.
Somehow I think my mom, who was a devout Catholic in her youth, probably took her lesson about smiling from Mother Teresa who said:
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
Personally, it was George Bernard Shaw who resonated with me with his quote:
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”
This implies that everything is a choice, most especially your outlook on the world. And I truly believe that. It’s not always easy to find something to smile about or to be grateful for, especially if you’re reflecting inward. But often, if you’re shifting your vision outward to the rest of the world, there’s always something.
The thing about smiles is that most of the time they can give you the greatest joy…and they’re contageous. But there’s a different kind of smile, too. Have you ever seen a smile and wished you could look away because it broke your heart? All you saw when you looked into that face was bravery and pain? A person tenaciously holding on to this strong, hidden inner core, but in their eyes was everything that let you know everything was NOT alright?
Today I saw that, too. A couple from church had lost their son, but they came to be with their church family and gain comfort. They smiled, but boy was there heartache in that smile. I felt it in my soul.
I admire and respect that kind of pure stubbornness and iron will that allows a person to smile through their own heartache and pain. The thing is, these people don’t have to say a word…you still get a strong sense of their grief. So for all those who are heartbroken and struggling to hold on to their smiles…here are a few songs for you to remind you that your smile matters to someone… And to hang on.