Thank You, God! (Getting My Smile Back)
All of my life, people have come up to me – many of them strangers – and said, “You are always smiling!” While I don’t realize that I’m smiling, under ordinary circumstances I guess I don’t take life very seriously. And apparently, that shows.
I’ve made some valuable friends that way. And years ago, at a time when I was having problems, a friend came and asked me what was wrong. When I wondered how in the world she had known, she replied, “You’ve stopped smiling.”
Two years ago, when my husband died, I’m reasonably certain that I stopped smiling again. For how long, I don’t know, but it seems I have now gotten my smile back! I went out a couple of nights ago and three different people came up to me and told me what a beautiful smile I had, with one of them even adding, “And you know how to use it!”
Such nice people I meet, sometimes!
This was God’s way of letting me know that I am going to be okay.
And while I’m not entirely sure when or where I got my smile back, if you’ve lost yours, especially after losing a spouse, I do have a few suggestions:
1. Take a vacation, if you can. This sounds simple enough, but I have an older sister who almost had to force me to take one, even paying a large part of my way. I kept asking God, wasn’t I supposed to stay home and look after my mother? God kept telling me to go, every time I asked – and I kept asking. (I just kept thinking that I hadn’t understood Him correctly.)
We went to Italy. I had never, in my entire life, expected to go to Italy. It was nine days of fun. When it was over, I realized that I had rediscovered my sense of humor. Up until that point, I hadn’t even realized that it was missing. (Thank You, God, for giving me back my sense of humor!)
2. Express gratitude. Stop worrying so much about yourself and your life and where everything apparently went off course! This is what I kept telling myself this year. God has blessed me nine ways from Sunday. I have the most amazing family, outstanding friends, a beautiful home to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, places to go and things to do, new people to meet, books and articles to write. (Thank You, God, for profoundly blessing my life!)
3. Pay attention to the opposite sex. Yes, seriously, it really is okay. I admit, I never expected to notice again, but when I was in Italy, I noticed some of the men there. (Have you been to Italy? Kind of hard not to notice! Especially if they happen to be serving you pizza…)
After returning home, I realized that I had also started noticing some of the men here. I had forgotten how cute and charming American men can be, and some of the best ones are right here in the South. There was this really cute cowboy who walked by and smiled at me the other day…but that’s a story for another day.
It’s okay to notice, and it’s fun. Especially when they notice you back. You’ll definitely get your smile back! (Thank You, God, for giving me my smile back!)