Remembering to Smile

Saturday night, alone in bed, before 11pm. Officially, this makes me old. Unofficially, it makes me far wiser

Picture courtesy of Mark Askins

because I could no longer keep my eyes open.

With one child off at her mother’s and husband and child at camp, I enjoyed the quiet. I made dinner for just me. I drank one glass or two of 3 buck Chuck and serenaded my dogs with an alto’s version of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On (my dogs are rueing the day when Twitter brought up Titanic’s return to the big screen). I read. I controlled the remote.

But even after good days, we’re grow weary.

The soft evening rain, the groans of an evening storm rising, my body worn out. But a good tired. The kind of tired from plotting and planning and brunching with a friend and colleague. The kind of tired where the body aches for rest, but the mind whizzes from idea to idea like hummingbirds in May. Slowly, I quieted my thoughts. Ideas flew to paper, and night’s power almost won. Sleep comes in soft easy steps.

Before I turned out the light, it happened. Deep down, bubbling up like champagne, the warming glow of face and mouth and teeth–A smile! A real smile, radiant and full, showing only God all of my crooked teeth. I can’t remember when I smiled last. For so long, I forced a tight lip grin, smiled when it was expected, even laughing felt forced for too long.

Life’s stress does that. I carry the heavy load  I should never have to bear. They force my smile into grimness, sadness, and I let them, those worries and cares and burdens. Until I forget how to smile. For real. Not forced or faked.

Slowly, I smile again. Full of crooked teeth upward and God sees. Maybe, tomorrow, I shall smile again too.


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