Friday, March 20, 2009

Smiling Forward

Before spring break, I had a nice stroll through campus on my way to the bus stop. Instead of rushing or even listening to a talk with my iPod, I actually strolled, paying attention to the budding flowers on trees, the buildings' architecture, and the creek that paralleled my way.

As I walked along, I noticed that I was receiving some interesting looks from passers by, followed by little grins. I figured it was unusual to see a fellow walking along with a big smile on his face looking up and around, instead of straight ahead. I think the grins that followed their initial interesting looks were the result of the contagious nature of the smile.

I was reminded of this experience today. Leaving Maryann to do some spring cleaning, I took David and Rebecca to run errands. (I had done some cleaning, too, before I left, by the way.) They decided they would prefer playing together at the supervised play area at IKEA over shopping with me, so I found myself alone in a place I've never been alone before. Strapping a big yellow bag over my shoulder, I headed out to find the items on my list.

I passed a mirror half-way through the circuitous path of the store and didn't recognize myself at first. I thought I had passed some scowling grumpy man. Almost immediately, I laughed at myself and consciously decided to smile forward—to pass on a smile to those around me. While I didn't notice much change in others, I could tell that I was happier myself.

I was reminded of the counsel from Ephesians:

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger ... be put away from you ...

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted (4:31-32).

I think that is why so many people smile when they see our little Benjamin: he has no bitterness, wrath, or anger, but is filled with kindness and love, as shown by his adorable smile. His smile is contagious.

I hope I can catch what he has and continue to smile forward.

2 thoughts

Maryann said...

It is hard to imagine you as a grumpy man. You are always smiling and singing your heart away!

Rockin Rowe's said...

Thanks for the contagious smile!