Anytime we make facial expressions, whether we mean to or not, we are transmitting messages which are then interpreted by those who see us. Many who do not know us will form an impression of us based simply upon our expressions.
I found this to be true at work.
One morning, after an especially busy night, our boss stepped into the nurses' station. Her brow was furrowed and her lips were pursed. She clearly looked upset to me, but I suspected this wasn't actually the case.
"You can't look at us like that after the night we've had," I said jokingly to her, "we can't take it."
She was clearly surprised that she was communicating anything negative with her expression.
"Oh, I didn't mean to look like that, I was just thinking," was her reply.
Her facial expression had led me, and my colleagues, to immediately expect the worst, but thankfully we had misinterpreted the expression.
Just the opposite is true of a young man whose name I don't even know, but I know his smile very well. He comes each night to pick up the trash from our unit. He pushes a cart much larger than he is and goes to the soiled utility room where he loads the bags of trash from that room into his cart. Each night when I see him I give him a big smile and say hello, and he does the same to me. Often when I am going to the pharmacy or to the Emergency Room to pick up a patient, I will see him pushing his cart from one unit to another. I have never seen him without the smile. I look forward to seeing him simply because his smile makes me smile.
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."
There are people the Lord has put in each of our paths who can benefit from a simple smile. It is such a little thing, but can do so much for those who see it. It can be a source of encouragement, it can lift a sad heart, it can be the beginning of a friendship. Our smile speaks of contentment, joy and love. It takes so very little to spread it to everyone we encounter and yet it can have such a big impact.
Let us use this simple thing in our lives as a way to transmit the love of our Lord to others. We never know what door that one smile may open for us to share more, or how a simple smile can revive the heart of one facing grief, sadness or despair.