Kathryn Swegart considers what we say without even using words—through our facial expressions.
One bright spring day I returned home from a visit to the hairdresser. It was the first time ever with this stylist and we miscommunicated. Instead of a simple, no frills cut she used a curling iron and blower that puffed up my hair into a bouffant befitting a movie star from the 1940s. I thought it looked hilarious.
I opened the kitchen door and was greeted by my 6-year-old foster son. This little fellow needed a great deal of love and attention, often wearing my patience down to the bone. To be truthful, I was, at times, a tad bit grumpy.
On this sunny day, I felt light-hearted and showed off my silly hairstyle.
I asked the little fellow. “Do you see anything different about me?”
He said innocently. “Yes, you are smiling.”
I was thunderstruck.
Did I really walk around frowning all the time? From that moment on I made a concerted effort to smile more often.
How important is a smile?
Many studies have shown the importance of body language. Children rely heavily on facial expressions in communication, even up to 90%.
Mother Theresa said. “Smile at each other. Smile at your wife. Smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other—it doesn’t matter who it is—and that will help you grow in greater love for each other.”
Being of a melancholic temperament, I was not a natural smiler. I was too busy ruminating about the meaning of life. That answer, of course was in the risen Jesus, Truth with a capital T. Like the sun rising over an eastern hill, the reality of Jesus, His grace and boundless love, s-l-o-w-l-y dawned on me.
So I smiled more at the little fellow. Worry invaded his young heart. He could not verbalize this anxiety. What was to become of him? The future looked bleak.
I tucked him in at night and whispered. “Everything is going to be okay. God loves you.” I prayed for the adoption worker to find him a loving family.
Proverbs 17:22 (RSV-CE) says that “a cheerful heart is a good medicine.” A smile is such a simple act, yet powerful. I smiled more and that relaxed me. He saw my smile and drew comfort.
I am happy to report that the little fellow was adopted by a loving family.
To this day, I strive to smile more, even at store clerks or the man that picks up our trash. It may be the only smile they see all day.
Copyright 2022 Kathryn Griffin Swegart