We should be excited to live in a time when smiling is in vogue, with the possible exception of runway models who look like they have been weaned on pickles. There is so much to smile about! From “selfies,” to Facebook posts, to Instagram photos, to Pinterist, and even to SnapChat, it’s cool to broadcast a smiling face in cyberspace. But in a disposable world that casts aside interpersonal relationships like empty plastic water bottles, where the counterfeits for happiness can be so easily manufactured, processed, packaged, and promoted, let’s make sure we generate daily smiles, and are doing it for the right reasons. Let’s not allow gullibility or photoshop to overpower our native common sense. Let’s take a lesson from Joseph Smith, who by all accounts was a good-natured and affable soul. But even he admitted: “I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament.” (J.S.H. 1:28).
It’s easy to learn to smile. When we smile, our faces light up with a celestial glow. We smile large; our cheeks may hurt, but it’s the cutest thing. We truly smile when our mouths and hearts coordinate with each other. We smile as if we’ve just been told the best joke on earth. When we smile like the morning sun, our lives are filled with fun. Anyone can smile on their best of days; we want to meet those who can smile on their worst days. Our genuine smiles come from our hearts, but our healthy smiles need good dental care.
We smile like flowers and attract everyone. We are smile-magnets. We smile at others as if it were the last smile they would see on earth. When we smile, not only our ears rise, but so does our listening ability. We decorate our faces with piles of smiles. We smile like the sun at daybreak. We smile at perfect strangers, and mean it, because nearly everyone could use a lift. We look for special opportunities to spoil the day of a grump, by giving him our smiles. We would crack a smile, but we don’t like breaking things. Because it’s the worst form of identity theft, we refuse to let anyone steal our smiles. We know that life is short, and so we smile while we still have teeth.
If we’re not using our smiles, we’re like the person with a million dollars in the bank and no pen to write a check. If we’re not smiling, our hearts are on vacation. When we wear a smile, we have friends, but when we wear a frown, we have wrinkles. No one is perfect, unless they smile. Our smiles preemptively confuse approaching frowns. While frowns mean nothing, our smiles means everything. It takes 64 muscles of the face to make a frown, and only 13 to make a smile, and so we ask ourselves: “Why work overtime?” (It really does take more muscles to frown than it does to smile, which make sense because yesterday I saw someone who frowned so much they ended up pulling a groin muscle). Before we put on a frown, we need to make absolutely sure there are no smiles available. It’s no coincidence that smiles turn up the corners of our mouths, while frowns turn them down. In the economy of nature, it could have just as easily have been the other way around, but God does seem to have prescience, as well as a sense of humor.
We never ask for permission to smile, and never consider ourselves too poor to give one away. One time, I thought I had lost my smile. But then I found it in a daffodil. Life is about the number of faces that smile when they hear our names mentioned. I have been told that I have a winning smile, but I must confess that it’s just not true. My grin only won a silver medal at last year’s Facial Expression Olympics. We smile and thank God that we are alive. Especially when it’s cold outside, we can always bring someone into the warmth of our smiles.
We smile so powerfully that it shames the sun itself, because a smile can provide even more warmth. We smile as if the sun had just come out from behind a cloud. The world always looks brighter from behind a smile. Sometimes we feel that if we had a star for every time we smiled, we would be holding the night sky in our hand. If we haven’t seen our wives smile at a traffic cop, we haven’t seen them smile at their prettiest. Our children are always on their best behavior when they’re smiling. We know by experience that love is a smile that is shared between two people. Our smiles are often the best reaction to life’s experiences. Smiles are the twinkle that adds to our happiness, which is probably why each of us has smiles to go before we sleep. All the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of our smiles. Our enigmatic smiles are worth ten pages of dialog. When we smile, we reflect the face of God.
If you want to know who is amazing and has the best smile ever, read the first word of this sentence again. Your smile isn’t about you; it’s about who it helps. A smile doesn’t always stand for a perfect life, but a man who smiles when he falls, gives the devil a good slap on the face. If we smile, or don’t smile, it affects everyone. Our smiles are a perfume that we cannot pour out on someone else without getting a few drops on ourselves. What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
Our smiles are like stress-formula vitamins. When we sulk, we create noise, but when we smile, we create music. If we can win an argument by stretching our lips into a smile, it makes no sense to open our mouths and lose it. If the world appears abundant in smiles or overwhelmed by scowls, we might ask ourselves if we are responsible. It’s hard for someone to stay angry with us when we smile. We keep right on smiling. It makes people wonder what we’re up to. Our smiles create love and peace, but love and peace can also create smiles. If we disagree with another, our discussion should be punctuated with smiles. Smiles increase our face value. When we put smiles on our faces, we are more likely to be lucky.
Our smiles are contagious and they are the only infectious affliction everyone is encouraged to spread. They can start an epidemic, and so we should indiscriminately share them. Most smiles are jump started by another smile. The shortest distance between two people is a smile. Our smile can be the key that fits the lock on our hearts. Our smile is evidence that we are on the side of its recipients. One smile probably won’t change the world, but it could change ours, and so, we smile at everyone, because we never know when we’re smiling at an angel. Although a laugh can be a smile that has burst its borders, a smile means a lot more because it is a true reflection of emotion. Laughter is just a by-product of humor. Unlike gossip, no-one minds if you spread a smile. Our smiles speak a language that even babies understand. Just think of the smile that flickers on a baby’s mouth when it is sleeping, and prepare to be amazed.
Let’ all hope and pray for sunshine in our souls “today more glorious and bright than glows in any earthly sky, for Jesus is (our) light. O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, when the peaceful, happy moments roll; when Jesus shows His smiling face, there is sunshine in the soul.” (Eliza Hewitt).
Remember to smile the next time you stand before the congregation to bear your testimony, when you are given a service opportunity, when you approach the Recommend Desk at the temple, when you greet your son or daughter who has just returned home from a date, when you are asked about your home or visiting teaching report by your file leaders, when you meet with the Bishop to discuss a Church calling, when you entertain the missionaries with a meal in your home, when a non-member friend asks you a question about the Church, or when you are asked by a neighbor to move outside your comfort zone to provide temporal or spiritual assistance.
Remember to smile when things don’t go as you have planned, when life throws you a curve, when your best-laid plans go awry, when the baby needs a diaper change, when the car starts making a weird noise, when your son throws an errant baseball through the front window, when the new driver in your family has a close encounter with a curb or a tree, when a carton of yogurt falls upside-down on the kitchen floor, or when someone before you in the bathroom has squeezed the toothpaste from the middle of the tube.
Remember to smile when you miss by one day the big sale at the department store, when someone at work who is less deserving gets the promotion, when someone else gets recognition for your achievements, or when a neighbor comes home with the new car you’ve been dreaming about.
But also remember to smile when you think about how the Lord has blessed you, and how He has provided for your needs and even granted you a surplus, how you have friends you can trust, how your spouse and children sustain you, how others look to you for counsel, how your dog thinks you can do no wrong, and how fortunate you are to be alive.