On not smiling

Nancy and I were talking the other afternoon.

“You aren’t smiling,” she said.

It was an observation, not a criticism. I started to explain why: tired from a long run, project with a looming deadline, worried. But there was no good reason, no explanation that was satisfactory for why I was sitting with my spouse not smiling.

That moment came to me on Monday when I was out running again, listening to Seth Godin on the TED Radio Hour talking about how we notice things that are different, not the same.

And I realized that we might notice a person who identified as Christian, who remembered phrases from the Bible about contentedness and forgiveness and compassion, and who then contentedly showed compassion and forgave. It would make a striking contrast from the loud public image to have such a person in each family or neighborhood or office.

Which is why I remembered Nancy’s comment. I was frowning because I was judging myself, I wasn’t resting, I wasn’t content. I wasn’t accepting compassion.

I teach it all the time. I offer it all the time. But only as I believe that God’s understanding extends to me, will I start to smile again.

1206050926.jpgAnd smiling could be a helpful thing.



About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

One thought on “On not smiling

  1. Yes, and healthy…. Smiling is a good start toward JOY because it is a conscious decision to say in your heart , Phil. 4:11. Thank you for the reminder.


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