How Hard is it to Smile?

Earlier this summer while traveling in India, I experienced a deep desire to love all of humanity– people of all races, religions, and lifestyles. While we often talk in Be Love Revolution about learning how to be love to those closest to us, the call is to also love the person we don’t know well, a stranger, and even our enemy. Coming back to America, I found it really difficult to implement this love in daily action. How can I really be love to ALL those around me? This question should challenge us for the rest of our journey on earth.

One evening, when I was on one of my daily runs, I ran by a man who was walking towards me. I smiled and said hello to him. I knew he saw my gesture and at the last second, he looked at me with no smile or hello. I immediately became angry at the rudeness of this man who had rejected me. As I kept running, the encounter with this stranger made me think of the importance of looking at others in the eye and greeting them with a smile. In doing this, we acknowledge their existence as a human being. Simply by just acknowledging someone, we are tapping into the channel of God’s love. I then thought about how many times I have passed others while on my countless runs or walks, and never looked at them or greeted them with a hello. Mother Teresa once said, “Smile at each other. Smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other – and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.” This seems simple and easy. How hard is it to smile?

And then I ran into the same guy who had rejected my first hello. All I wanted to do was stare at the ground, and pretend he didn’t exist. However, I decided to give the man another shot. I smiled and greeted him. Still, no response back. And then it hit me: it does not matter whether someone rejects my smile or hello, it matters that I gave the Lord an opportunity to shine through me and BE LOVE to someone, even a stranger.

Our culture needs people to look at each other in the eyes, smile, and say hello. This is the first step in learning how to love those we do not know. This shows them that we are not afraid to love. We show them the strength and courage of God’s infinite love. Love is courageous, love is strong. By acknowledging the existence of our neighbor, no matter what race, gender, or religion, we open ourselves to a deep channel of God’s love, where He can shine through us. This is what draws humanity to the heart of Christ. Through the smiles of human beings, we express a part of Christ that is dying to save souls! All we have to do is invite Christ into our hearts, be willing to offer that smile, and He will do the rest. He is the one smiling in us and loving through us.

Mother Teresa and her sisters would invite Christ in every day by praying: “Shine through me and be so in me, that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul.” Let us invite Christ in our hearts to shine through us! Let us be courageous, and simply smile at someone, especially a stranger, and let God do the rest.