When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
Yesterday people were once again stocking up at grocery stores in preparation for another predicted snowstorm. It is an intriguing process that never ceases to surprise me. After all the years I have lived in Minnesota, to see people filling store parking lots in order to make sure they have enough bread, milk…..chocolate….whatever seems to be the needs for being sequestered to your house while snow falls and winds blow as we wait for the plows to do their work, is fascinating. In today’s light, the snow really is more steady than fast falling but the colder temperatures make it more dangerous for driving. To have labeled it a storm may have been dramatic.
For many people this kind of weather brings out their dour, ‘I’m tired of this’ face. So this morning,as I read a small article in the paper about what you can do to put a smile on your face, I thought of all those who woke up today with a prepared frown. The article listed 10 things you can do to add that needed lift of the lips. It included things like cooking a wonderful meal and visiting an animal shelter to pet an animal. There were easy ideas like getting dressed up to do regular acts of your day. The thought is we always feel better when we know we look nice. The one that made me laugh was ‘organize your sock drawer’. Having just done this recently, I know the odd feeling of freedom and accomplishment this simple little task brings. I am not sure having done so made me smile but it made me feel more orderly, which is a good thing, I guess. There were several other good ideas on the list including a YouTube video that featured the song Stand By Me.
The exercise someone took on to create this list piqued my curiosity and caused me begin to think of those things that make me smile. I’d like to offer a few ideas of my own. Things that over the last few days lifted me from the doldrums of a very, snowy winter.
Dance with a baby. I did this yesterday at church. While beautiful jazz music sealed the ending of our worship, I lifted my arms out to one of our newly walking members. Her soft, pudgy fingers joined my rough, dry ones and we swayed to the music as she looked deeply into my eyes with all the wonder and curiosity of her freshness on the earth. I carried the memory of her, our dancing, with me all day creating smile after smile. The sheer act of holding her aliveness lifted my spirits.
Let the snowflakes fall on your tongue. Catch them as you did when you were a child and make a note that you, a unique creation, are swallowing an equally unique creation. There is something to all that which brings a smile to my face. Uniqueness savoring uniqueness.
Spend time looking out a window. Narrow your view for a few minutes and let the vast worries of the world fall away. For a few moments give thanks for all you can see out the limited view of your window. The children waiting for the bus(say a prayer for them).The mounds of snow that have now become near icebergs. The tracks of a rabbit that kept watch outside while you were sleeping. Where is it now? Is it watching you,hidden from your human eyes,as you look out through your refined vision?
Every day brings with it many worries, many sorrows. Every day also brings the potential for lifting our spirits, for taking stock of the joyful moments that are gift to us. As we exercise our face muscles we generate endorphins that nourish us, maybe even adding a few moments to our longevity. Sounds worth it to me.
What puts a smile on your face? How can you create more of those experiences that feed your smiling spirit? I invite you to make a list. Refer to it often. Add to it with each new, grinning observation. The dark of winter may feel as if it is holding us hostage. But we have the power to lift ourselves above the drifts with the beauty of an upturned smile.