Find Your Smile

Smiling woman

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.—JAMES 1:2 (NIV)

It was one of those days. Heavy. Leaden. It took so much energy to deal with my husband’s dementia that I never felt truly happy anymore.

I decided to talk to my friend Rob about the way I was feeling. Rob had lost the love of his life to cancer a year earlier. He listened empathetically, but he didn’t baby me. “Our pain is not unique, you know,” he said. “C.S. Lewis said, ‘All human relationships end in loss.’ ”

Wow. Was that supposed to cheer me?

“I do have a suggestion though,” he said. “Find something each day to make you smile.”

Hmmm. Although that sounded pretty clichéd, I could at least try it. One day it was a neighbor’s dog that pierced my gloom. A few days later, a gentle breeze. Then, simply the aroma of cinnamon muffins. I kept thinking about my friend’s suggestion. He hadn’t told me to pretend to smile. He’d urged action! I needed to actually look for things that reliably made me smile.

I decided to try painting, something I’d always wanted to do, but never had the time. One painting led to another, and one day I realized that each painting was giving me genuine joy.

Today's Prayer:

Oh, Lord, you tell us to think about the good things. Remind us to do more than just think. Urge us to seek the good that can make us happy.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts