Five Minute Friday: Smile

Gentle Reader,

Welcome to the 435th day of March 2020.

I wear a mask whenever I’m out and about these days. It’s not enjoyable. But apparently I’ve been brainwashed by a vast governmental and medical establishment conspiracy, so I comply.

A little dark humor. But for realsies, everyone needs to step off the gas and engage with something other than wild theories. And if you see me at the store, you can choose to look me in the eye and call me a name and talk at me for wearing a mask, but why waste your time? I’m just here to buy some Oreos, not to receive a lecture and finger-pointing. It’s okay.

Kate says: smile.

Go.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your pain and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through, for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

– John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons (music by Charlie Chaplin)

I loathe this song.

Today, I feel sad. What do I feel sad about? Everything and nothing.

Is it because of fluctuating and ever-mysterious female hormones? Maybe. It is because my serotonin or some other brain chemical is low (or high)? Probably. Is it because I haven’t slept well the last couple of weeks? Sure. Is it because, in the words of John Lennon, “I read the news today, oh boy”? Most assuredly.

Or maybe it just is.

I do believe in practicing gratitude, in looking for the joy and the good in each day. I can honestly say that I’m grateful for the soft blanket covering my feet (they’re always cold) and the coffee sitting on the side table next to me. I’m grateful for my truly neurotic puppies who eat socks. I’m grateful for the plants scattered around my living room, purifying the air and bringing the outdoors in.

But smile when you want to cry? No.

Take it from the Queen of Bottling Emotions, no good comes from engaging in toxic positivity, the kind of fake, shallow, “nothing can ever be wrong because Jesus loves me” sort of thing. If you’re living in an imprecatory psalm moment, live in it. Pour all of the anger and confusion and sorrow out before God, because God already knows you’re feeling and thinking it.

God knows.

And God smiles that beautiful, patient, loving, heavenly smile, the one that’s made of compassion and goodness, and holds out God’s arms. There, wrapped in the safety of holy grace, you sigh deeply, all of the stress exiting your body in one ragged breath. But you don’t smile. Instead, you are still. Even the atoms of your body seem to stop vibrating. And you know there is a contentedness, a happiness, that transcends the smile, and coexists with the sadness.

That is enough.

More than enough.

Stop.

Grace and peace along the way,
Marie

5 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Smile

  1. Thank you for an authentic post. I’m with you – I don’t think there is a biblical narrative that supports smiling when your heart is broken. Jesus didn’t plaster a smile on the cross. Instead, we are encouraged to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Yet I find that i need to find a way to express the joy of my salvation and tone down my RBF (excuse the expression).

    FMF #16 (and fellow Nazarene), Amie

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  2. Marie, I truly love what you posted here because it’s real, honest and true! If we succumb to the “toxic positivity” as you put it, we are not being our authentic selves and the way God created us. Funny thing is that HE sees the truth and KNOWS our hurt, pain and sadness even when we try to hide it from the rest of the world! I believe it’s healthier in the long run to be who we are, feel what we feel and seek (always) the love and comfort of our Lord and Savior in ALL circumstances! Love you bunches for calling it like it is all the time!

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  3. That was a fabulous write and read. I felt your heart and I heard your message. Loved everything about it — the prelude (“I’m just here to buy some Oreos, not to receive a lecture and finger-pointing.”); the juxtaposition of a song you loathe with a message that has to be heard; and those powerful ending images of God smiling and reaching out to us (“And you know there is a contentedness, a happiness, that transcends the smile, and coexists with the sadness.”) Only thing is that is not enough from you. Keep pouring out the real thoughts on life.

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