Friday, October 06, 2006

I Love Your Smile

This was the text on the sticker that came to me yesterday, and I do not doubt that it was from the Lord.

Studying with a friend on a bench outside of the business school, suddenly we heard a man's voice trying to get our attention. I looked up, and there was a smiling older man standing over me, trying to give me something. I took it--it was a sticker, a bright yellow one that looked like a road sign, but the words were "Are we having fun yet?" Cute. He gave one to Jessica too. I smiled politely at him. He then proceeded to confront me about his true purpose. Could I donate a dollar to the Athens area food bank? Well, of course I could, if I had a dollar... I just gave him all my spare change. He thanked us warmly, and just before he turned to walk on, he gave each of us another sticker--"Because you're so nice."

This sticker was white with black text, and it simply said in block-style letters, "I Love Your Smile." The "o" in "love" was replaced by a red heart. I kind of chuckled about the whole, slightly strange incident as I slid the latter sticker into the clear plastic covering on the front of my accounting notebook.

My professor flew through class. I wrote feverishly for an hour and fifteen minutes, trying to document every single word that escaped his mouth, because I knew it would manifest itself on the test next week. But the faster I scribbled down his words, the faster he spit them out, and Jessica and I were frantically looking at each other's notebooks--and the notebooks of the students around us--trying to catch what we missed. Then, at the end of class, my professor moved the test back one week. What? I'd been planning all semester for the test to be the twelfth, and now, a week away, it is suddenly on the nineteenth? I was very inconvenienced. I was already irritated by the breakneck pace of class, and now to move a test that I had been planning around for two months now... As I got up to leave, I clapped my notebook closed in a flurry of frustration--and there, drawing my attention like an aptly sent, unexpected greeting card, was the sticker.

"I Love Your Smile."

Something in my spirit melted a little, and I suddenly felt the peace of God around me for an instant, just as strong as if I had been standing amid a cloud of angels. Then I just smiled--I smiled in my spirit, that is, a much deeper warmth than an outward smile that doesn't truly reflect the heart.

My father in heaven loves it when I smile, when I experience the unshakable joy that He intends for me. And amid all my recent frustration and busyness and failing to stay centered on the most important things in my life, He sent me an October valentine to let me know. If I can't smile because of God's unfailing love for me, even despite difficult and exhausting circumstances, then something in my heart is out of place. Nothing in life is so hopeless that it can cast a shadow over the everlasting light of God.

Let me remember, then, to live in a way that speaks of this light. Let me remember to live every day with that purpose at the forefront of my mind. Let me remember to smile--and bring delight to my father's heart.

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