I was walking through slimy mud and fallen leaves, trying not to fall, when I started across this wooden bridge with the words, “Smile More” painted on it in yellow paint that could not be missed. I stopped to take a picture, but had the strangest feeling that the message was aimed at me.
I thought, “What great advice!” I have found that when I can appreciate the funnier aspects of life, my dark days are fewer and I am ready for any adventure that my mind can dream up. Smiling more means living in the light and focusing on the goodness of life.
My goal for 2019 is to do exactly what it says, to search for the comical rather than the negative. To interact with people and give them something to smile about, gearing my conversations on what is positive and valuable to the well-being of the people around me.
There are enough pundits and naysayers on television and in the media to spread nebulous news and information about what will happen tomorrow or in the future, so I don’t need to add to their numbers. Instead, I will talk about what’s possible, and remember to constantly remind the people around me of their value and worth.
There are few things in life more healing to people’s souls than to engender unexpected laughter in their lives, especially in those times when they believe that life is so full of hardships that they will never laugh again. The smiles on their faces when they realize that they will get through the difficulties of their lives, with a little help from their less serious friends, is priceless.
As a child, I found it odd that the same people who lamented at the funeral of a loved one would be laughing so hard at the antics of the deceased with family members and friends just a few hours later. But, after my son died, as my other children and his friends laughed about his exploits, especially his love of driving cars, I started to smile and then laugh along with them, and my heart started the healing process that I thought impossible.
Also, I had a friend once who seemed to always find something to smile about, and people thought that she was shallow and immature. But, she had fewer aches and pains and complained less about her life than those of us who created a whole cottage industry on our woes.
I was surprised to find that she had suffered a lot. She firmly believed in the words of Ecclesiastes 3:4: There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
The command to smile more reminded me that being joyful is often a choice. As someone who spent 28 days in a mental health facility, I know that our brains can suffer chemical imbalances that lead to mental illness. But, I also have learned that the mind is powerful, and what we choose to feed it is as important as the events happening around us in influencing our joy and the amount of smiling we feel like doing.
So, I will feed my mind good things, such as blog posts that are positive, whimsical, funny, and those that remind us to be joyful. I will refrain from spending a great deal of time reading the news. And I will call up old friends and have a laugh-fest remembering our youthful indiscretions and being grateful that we still have each other.
Psalm 126:2 states, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” Remembering how far we have come should bring more smiles to our faces, and we should spread the smiles around.