Just Smile! – Your world needs it!

Less than a month ago – let me say that again – not even a month ago, I cooked (along with the help of a dear friend) a celebratory dinner for our high school’s girls’ basketball team as they were heading to the state tournament. The dinner has become a bit of a tradition over the past several years.

On that Monday morning – not even four weeks ago – I set out to purchase all I would need to feed 30 players and coaches. I drove to Lexington to Sam’s Club, then to Walmart and back home to our Kroger. I cook enough that I know what store has what items for the best prices.  I got back home with everything I needed. I never gave it a second thought.

By Tuesday evening when the girls all arrived after practice, we sent them all to the laundry room as they arrived to wash their hands. They had, after all, just been at practice. Have you ever noticed how many times basketball players touch the bottom of their shoes, touch the ball, lick their fingers – UGH – you get it! No matter what was going on we wanted them to wash their hands.

During their first game the following night – Wednesday – the world as we knew it began to shift.  Bits of news about professional basketball players being sick, actors being sick and other “odd” things began to emerge.

By Thursday things were shutting down all over the place – – sports seasons, schools, churches. By Friday of that same week most students attended their classes for the final time – maybe for the rest of the entire school year. The world changed JUST THAT QUICKLY.

I’ve realized that during this Great Shutdown, probably most everybody has joined me in pondering greatly.

We ponder: When should we go on our next walk? When do I need to venture out to the store? What do I have for dinner? What next project should I undertake? When will I return to work? When will I get paid? When will my small business loan come to fruition? When will I see my children, grandchildren again? What does 6 feet really look like? How can I best help someone? How can I keep from causing irreparable harm to my kids? When can we go to church, school, the park? There is an unending storehouse of things and concerns, questions and circumstances to ponder!

We have become a people of waiting. Waiting for the next news conference. Waiting for the next update on numbers of ill or deceased. Waiting for the new unemployment numbers, stock market close. Waiting for the next limitation, restriction, announcement, protocol.

But what I have really been pondering the last few days is whether we are going to lose our ability to smile. Yes – smile! Simply, sweetly, splendidly – SMILE!

On the few occasions I have ventured out to restore and replenish my larder, I have noticed how very quickly we have lost our connection. Yes, our huggings and handshakes are limited – but no one has mentioned not smiling and not making eye contact.

I have seen skittishness on the faces and in the eyes of people I know – people who are usually very friendly. I have really noticed a great many of those I pass (while trying to maintain social distancing) even avoid and avert any eye contact at all.

Now, with the recommendation that we wear masks when we do venture out, I’m afraid we will become a people of few, if not any, smiles.

How can we possibly remedy this? We must be intentional and thinking and aware!

The theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore show began: “Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?”

We need to remember that! A smile can change the entire demeanor and disposition of not only ourselves, as we smile, but all of those around us who get to witness it!


  • In your mirror.
  • Around your dinner table.
  • While you are out on a walk.
  • When you are facetiming anyone and everyone.
  • When you are on a zoom call – whether for work or pleasure.
  • When you are cooking dinner, doing laundry, making your grocery list.
  • When you think of, remember and pray for others.
  • While you are mowing or pulling weeds or spotting a new blossom.

And especially be sure to smile when you are donning your mask – if you decide you should do so – because you know what?

When your mouth is smiling – so are your eyes!

Haven’t you ever heard “When Irish Eyes are Smiling?”

(The entirety of the lyrics of the song made famous by Bing Crosby follow below.)

Yes, when you smile your eyes convey that message. So, if you are avoiding or averting looking at anyone there is no way to relay your message of greeting or comfort or thoughtfulness as you pass by in a grocery aisle, in your bank line, at work or anywhere else. Not even a mask can cover up the twinkling smile of your eyes!

How long does it take to smile – a nanosecond – not even as long as it took for our world to change so very quickly not even a month ago!

So Smile! Don’t mask it in any way!

Your world, your own disposition, your family, your neighbors and friends, your cashier, your groups on Zoom, your business meetings, your calls – everyone needs it! And you know what? Not only your eyes, but your voice can convey that smile! Let’s not lose this in the midst of everything else that is being diminished around us – if even in the short term! Hopefully it will be an intentional habit that will last far along the road of the days and weeks to come.

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Written by Chauncey Olcott, George Graff and Ernest Ball and sung by Bing Crosby

There’s a tear in your eye
And I’m wondering why
For it never should be there at all
With such pow’r in your smile
Sure a stone you’d beguile
So there’s never a teardrop should fall

When your sweet lilting laughter’s
Like some fairy song
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be
You should laugh all the while
And all other times smile
And now, smile a smile for me

When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing
When Irish hearts are happy
All the world seems bright and gay
And when Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, they steal your heart away


For your smile is a part
Of the love in your heart
And it makes even sunshine more bright
Like the linnet’s sweet song
Crooning all the day long
Comes your laughter and light

For the springtime of life
Is the sweetest of all
There is ne’er a real care or regret
And while springtime is ours
Throughout all of youth’s hours
Let us smile each chance we get

When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing
When Irish hearts are happy
All the world seems bright and gay
And when Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, they steal your heart away


Thought to Ponder: You’ve had enough to ponder –  Now it’s time to Just Smile!




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