Keep a Smile- "If you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face." Verse 8
Step One: Give The Hard Smiles
Smoke from the fire burned my eyes, and I slipped on my sweatshirt to escape the evening chill. The wobbly log I sat on dampened my jeans from the afternoon rain, and I tucked my hands inside my sleeves. I shivered in the mountain air.
Giggles emerged from my friends across the circle as he sauntered toward me. I felt my cheeks flush as I held my breath, clenched my teeth, and tried to think of something morbidly depressing. I looked at the fire, like I didn't have a thing on my mind. And then he did something unexpected. He cheated, wiping the hair from my forehead, and sat in my lap, making the balance of the log almost tip.
"Honey," he whispered, "If you love me, you'll smile."
The competitiveness in me fought every urge to give into his charm. I sucked the crisp, smokey air into my lungs and didn't make eye contact.
"Honey," I answered, "I love you, but I just can't smile."
He stared at me, with one last attempt at breaking me. I held firm, forcing the corners of my mouth to stay turned down. When at last he sighed and stood up, I grinned victoriously.
At Blue Haven each year, we played "Honey, if you love me, you'll smile." It was our favorite game, and to be truthful, I wasn't very good at it. A good lookin boy could sucker me into smiling just about every time, no matter how hard I tried to resist.
I am a victim of the church giggles, and if it's a time to be quiet, I simply cannot get control of my smile.
I wonder, then, why it's so hard to smile at other times. It is easy to become frustrated with this world, disappointed in others, sad for the hurting, and wrapped up in myself--every day. It's easy to think about the negative and lose my focus.
Sometimes I wonder if God is up there saying to me, "Lauren, if you love me, you'll smile."
What else can I do but turn the corners of my mouth up, show some teeth and grin as big as I can?