I kept watching her as she moved down the aisle, her somber countenance a tacit testimony to another rough week.
I waited, watching to catch her eye as she passed me. A small tilt of the head? Maybe movement would draw her attention... Rewarded by a brief glance upward, I quickly offered the gift I was waiting to give her: a smile.
Just a medium smile. Not super-sized. Not syrupy, not boisterous, but not timid either. A quiet burst of joy held forth like a flower, with no need for dissolving in hilarity or dissection of motive. Like I said, just a medium smile.
No, I didn't know her. Had no idea what her life was like, her family troubles and triumphs, her stresses at work, health issues, or even her first name. Nothing. I still don't; I haven't seen her since that one time we matched gazes—a mere two seconds, if that.
There is something about a smile. There is power in it—the power of giving Joy. And Joy has the power to change things. To change you. To change me.
Do I go around making goofy expressions at someone in hopes of inciting a laugh? Not exactly. But I do try to be sensitive to those around me and what they might be going through, to sense if they need someone to just give them that moment, that connection with another human heart and an invitation to joy. I don't mean anything forced; a simple acknowledging, reaching-out smile usually does the trick.
A real smile—one that reaches the eyes—has Life in it. I was reading again the other day that we are Christ's ambassadors here on earth. We are ambassadors of the Giver of Life! A giving smile without a giving heart and hands will soon be proven an empty witness. But even a simple smile can bring light to someone's day.
Even if they don't respond to the invitation, my heart is richer for offering it. Sometimes I even smile to myself. It's amazing how it helps!
Her eyes, as they reached mine, seemed to wake up as to light streaming through a window. I don't know that I'd say she smiled back, exactly. But her eyes said "Thank you," her bearing relaxed, and as we crossed, I prayed that very soon she would find that Joy for herself. Maybe someday, though she won't quite know why, she'll give a smile to someone else.
If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5 :13-21