“Smile, Jesus loves you,” is something I used to say a lot. It was one of my many catchphrases, along with ‘God spoke and bang it happened,’ always say a prayer, and ¿Qué hay en tu pescado? (whether they were actually catchy, many never caught on, but they were fun to say anyway). I remember trying to figure out how to translate ‘Smile, Jesus loves you’ into Spanish; I finally got it, but it didn’t sound as great as it did in English. But these are some thoughts on smiling that’s been running through my head.
It always got to me, when people would say “smile more” and then quote how many muscles needed to smile verses frown. I’ve a great-aunt that’s notorious for making me mad (not madder because despite a possible frown, it does not mean that I’m mad) for telling me “smile, you sour-puss.” But a frown is the natural position of my face. It takes a conscious effort to smile. I always thought it would be better if the lips would be in a straight line unless you made the effort to frown or smile, you know, have a neutral, emotionless kinda state unless you wanted to emphasize happy or upset. Maybe I’m just weird.
Then recently I caught a bit of the movie Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. In the scene of the date that Rosalee won with movie star Tad Hamilton, she asks him how he smiles like that all the time. Of course, he’s got that big, Hollywood smile. She tries it for a brief minute, then gives up, says her cheeks hurt. It got me to noticing. We as a whole don’t smile much, not unless we have a real reason to smile. It started noticing the people that I drive past or looking through the rearview mirror at the people behind me, people in Wal-mart, those in the choir loft. So many frowns, though I guess they may not have been consciously scowling, but there were definitely not smiling. So many that did not look happy to be where they were.
It made me start thinking more about what’s on my own face. Of course giving a wide bubbling, cheesy grin would probably get more strange looks, maybe cause concern over the state of my sanity. But it really doesn’t take much just to turn the corners of your mouth up, just a barely there smile.
But remember that reason we seem to need for a smile, whether it’s a funny joke, a pretty sight, seeing a friend’s face, etc. We seem to need a reason to smile, otherwise we’re stuck in that frowny state of being. What better reason to keep a smile on your face than the simple pleasure of knowing that Jesus loves you!