Do you remember that song from the the musical Annie?
At one time I was obsessed with all Annie songs, but hadn’t thought of it in a long time until seeing the phrase posted by a friend on Facebook. When I read it, I immediately tapped “like”. A good reminder that you can be the most impeccably dressed, well put together person, but without a smile appear stand-offish and distant instead of drawing others in.
But, what about those days when you don’t have a smile to put on?
That was me a few days later. I had to go to my retail job where I am around people all day long and need to smile. As I was dressing the phrase popped in to my head again and I thought I can put on these nice clothes, but the last thing in the world right now that I want to wear is a smile!
And thoughout the day as guests came in to the store and we exchanged the typical “How are you?” greetings, I felt conflicted about speaking a lie everytime I answered “fine” or “I’m well, thank you”. Really though, what stranger wanted to hear otherwise? For that matter, not just strangers, but friend? Mmmm. This got me thinking…
How can we not close ourselves off from others when we don’t wear a smile? Can we find a smile by sharing the pain? Why do we not really say how we are? Why do we put on the masks and pretend life is great?
I think the answer is two-fold.
First, we are afraid. Afraid to confide. Afraid to be honest. Afraid to be judged. Afraid to look bad. Afraid to be known. Afraid others can’t handle our “mess”.
On the flip side, there is a lot of truth as to why we would be afraid. Others do judge. Others don’t have time. Others don’t really want to know or get involved. So others don’t really ask to hear the truth.
If we are honest we fall on to both sides at different times. But this is not how God wants us to live. We are called to invest in one another’s lives. To be the hands and feet of Christ. To reflect His image to one another. And how can we do this without being known and knowing the needs of another?
Obviously this doesn’t mean we must share everything with every person. But do you share with some person? Do you have safe relationships or do you keep it all hidden? Do you seek others out and try to invest in their lives or are you too self-focused in your own routine?
For those days when it is hard to wear a smile or even impossible to put one on, you need to know God is with you. You need to know He draws near to the broken-hearted. You need to know that He came and suffered and understands all that you are going through. You need to know that His love for His children is fierce and cannot be changed, even when circumstances seem to say otherwise. Even so and especially then, you need to know His face still shines upon you and you have His smile.
Apart from His Word, how can you know and be comforted by these truths?
Only by the investment of a friend. A friend who can pour out His love to you and speak joy when you have no smile.
And when you do, seek out those who need a listening ear and the smile of a friend.
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