The Power of a Smile

Audio from PLIR Prayerful Living Internet Radio.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” From Science and Health.  Before I get started, I want to make sure that everyone understands that the word “Longsuffering” means patience.

Because of child abuse, I spent most of my life walking around looking at the floor. I rarely smiled unless I was at work, and those were not natural smiles. I know it sounds like I am having a pity party, but that was the past. I no longer look at the floor, and I smile all the time. Life is great now, but this didn’t happen overnight.  I needed to unlearn a lot I was taught as a child and develop a new way of thinking. I had to learn who I really was.

I was not a poor unhappy mortal who suffered through child abuse, even though I appeared that way. I had to expunge my past. Through my newfound spiritual studies, I was learning how to do that. As I rose from the darkness into the light, I discovered there was a lot to smile about. I learned that my abuser was the one with the problem, not me. The more I learned about who I was as a child of God, the more I realized that my abuser was also a child of God. But, he had not found his way out of the darkness, and I did eventually forgive him.

As I started to see the light I learned if I saw this world from God’s point of view, things began to change in my life, and I had this desire to help others who were suffering. It took time as I had a job and a daughter to raise, and I’m sure most of you understand that. But, now I am 95% retired, and my daughter is married and has a life of her own. Bless her; she was my salvation during my struggles, trying to see my way clear of the darkness. My desire for her to have a good life kept me many times from losing it altogether.

Now back to the smile. Until my mid-forties, I was so used to looking at the floor that it was difficult for me to hold my head up and make eye contact with others. As I was learning I was a spiritual idea and not a poor suffering mortal, something started to happen. Now don’t laugh, but I found myself standing in front of the mirror one day, trying for that happy kind of smile, you know, the one where your eyes even smile. Well, go ahead and laugh. I am.  😊 When I managed to get that twinkle in my eyes, I felt better. Go figure! Even a forced smile can make you feel better if you reach that twinkle. 😊

Now having a smile is no good unless you share it. My mirror might smile back at me, but sorry, that doesn’t count. Once when I was at the grocery store checking out, I noticed that the cashier looked sad. My heart goes out to those who appear unhappy. All I want to do is make them feel better. Well, I smiled at her and said something about what a great day it was. I don’t remember now exactly what I said after that, but we chatted.  It did not happen instantly, but before I left, she had a smile on her face. Smiling is contagious. 

My heart breaks when I see sadness and tears on someone’s face, but I will not cry with them. I will, however, do everything I can to change those tears into laughter.

To have Sympathy with someone is to identify with them. It is a type of bonding; you share their feelings and pain.  It does not help the person but only confirms their pain and suffering.

However, to have Empathy is to understand their feelings and have compassion, which is the desire to help.  That is where I am now. Can I help by sharing my story about how I overcame the adult effects of child abuse? I hope so; that is the only reason I wrote my book and started blogging. I want to help bring happiness and joy to the lives of those who are suffering.

Now, if smiling does not come naturally to you, stand in front of the mirror. You know that old saying, “try it, you’ll like it.”  😉

A smile is a language everyone understands. It is the language of kindness. Smile at a stranger, and you might change their life without even knowing it. A smile is a powerful tool; use it generously. Please share it with everyone you see.

Jesus said: If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.  (John 13:14–17)

Life is a mirror; smile, and it will smile back.

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