“Smile, look like you’re having fun.” When I first started in the world of work, I used to say this to my co-workers. They were not thrilled to hear it, although after grousing about it, sometimes the corners of the mouth would start to curl upwards. At the time, I was working in a card and gift shop, and except for the day after Christmas when everything was 50% off and the crowd was uncontainable, it was actually a nice place to be. Why not smile and be happy that the little bit of money we were making would help to offset the cost of college fees?
People communicate mostly through nonverbal means, like tone of voice and facial expressions. I admit, when I’m deep in thought mulling over a challenge, I may have more of a scowl than a smile. But when you’re dealing with other people, a smile goes a long way. It may even be the only bright spot in a day filled with challenges and disappointments. Recently while I was dealing with some health issues and was working from home, it was all too easy for me to express my crankiness at not being well. Since it’s just me at home, who am I hurting if I’m cranky, right? I received a mailing from the Society of the Little Flower, which had the following printed on the envelope, “Even when alone be cheerful, remembering always that you are in the sight of the Angels.” – St. Therese of Lisieux. OUCH! It felt like a finger pointing directly at me. It also made me realize that if I don’t try to be cheerful and smile at home, how can I ever expect to have it come naturally when I’m around others?
At the birth of Jesus, the angel proclaimed to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great JOY that will be for all the peoples.” (Luke 2:10, emphasis added) Are we afraid to live a life of joy and spread it generously? We often get so encumbered in our daily challenges that we forget the joy that living a life in Christ has brought us. We miss out at enjoying the blessings we have: life and breath, hope and love. The joy of Christmas is not meant for one day, but everyday. We especially celebrate it once a year to remember that most special day and re-energize our joy to spread through the upcoming year.
My trademark now is wishing people a happy <whatever> day, and yes, I do wish folks a Happy Monday. I have had the response of, “It’s Monday, how can it be happy?” However at the end of the work week, most people don’t mind when I wish them a Happy Friday. It’s not so much that the day itself is happy, but that I’m wishing folks happiness throughout the day, whatever it brings: a little happiness or much happiness. I am wishing them well in their day. Sometimes I’ll hear someone at work wish another a “Happy Tuesday.” I don’t know if they are picking it up from me or elsewhere, but it makes me smile to hear it.
Smiles, cheerfulness, joy and happy wishes, are all part of spreading the love of God to our neighbor. And since this is posted on Wednesday, dear reader, I wish you a Happy Wednesday.