Keep smiling

“Why can’t I smile?” This is the question I asked my doctor late last year thinking she would have a medical explanation. I supposed that the reason was just facial muscles or something.

When doing tests on me early in the process, she discovered I was not able to properly raise my eyebrows due to cranial nerves that control my forehead being impaired. I’d try to raise them but they wouldn’t go up, just kind of flickered up and down like a person doing google eyes at someone. It was one of the first indications she had that there was a problem…..a big problem.

Months into my challenging journey, I literally couldn’t smile. I looked like an exhausted four-year-old at Disneyland who’s had enough of pictures and is just smiling with their teeth and not their whole face. I couldn’t smile because…

A smile comes from within. It’s not something intense suffering produces. I couldn’t! Yes, I could show my teeth but my eyes stayed hollow and the sparkle was gone.

I thought maybe, just maybe my smile muscles weren’t working and my doctor needed to know this but really it was my emotional muscles that were broken. Not physical.

On some of my most difficult TBI days, my beautiful daughter would walk through the room and flash me her dazzling smile, lighting up my soul with rays of hope.

She said nothing.

But she smiled!

Her smile cheered me on. It was her way of saying “I love you mom, keep fighting, you’re doing good!”

Those smiles cost nothing but were everything to me.

They reflected God’s love.

I knew then, I was indeed going to be okay. I could feel His smile through her.

In a world of frowns…we as believers in Jesus can smile. It’s a powerful way of witnessing as to where our joy comes from. Our joy comes not from outward circumstances but from knowing His love, hope and peace.

A few months ago, I told the receptionist at my doctor’s office how much I appreciate her sweet smile every time I’m being checked in. It gives me something to look forward to and she has such a sweetness in her face that makes me smile back and fills my day with hopeful gladness.

Every time I see a stranger I give them a smile…and you know what? They always smile back and then the room fills with an atmosphere of light, love and happiness.

I don’t remember when I didn’t feel pain in my head and it’s not easy to keep smiling, but I still force myself to smile, through the pain. I smile so my family feels happier. I smile because God is so good. I smile because I’m grateful and learning to find happiness in the little things. I smile because I’m happy!

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing today, smile and spread the light, joy and happiness of God to everyone you meet. It just may happen to be the only smile they receive today. It could be they needed that smile more than you can ever possibly know.

My beautiful girl flashing her sweet smile