What is a Smile?

What is a smile? It is very common these days to see celebrities or political figures who smile on demand, looking this way and that, wherever the camera is. But for most of them, it seems to be part of the job, and they smile with their mouth but not with their eyes. It is also common to watch television news and see the journalists with this same smile, with their mouth but not with their eyes. I often wonder if this constant smiling is part of the job description.

There are many types of smiles, a pet dog’s goofy, toothy grin (any dog owner will attest to the fact that their dog does indeed smile.) There is a child’s innocent, joyful smile; or the sad smile of a person who has lost a loved one and has family and friends around them,  where the mouth is smiling, but the eyes tell a different story. There is the brave smile that one sees when a person who has been through a natural disaster is interviewed, in this case the eyes have a resigned or shocked appearance while the mouth smiles, depending on how long ago the disaster happened. There is the deceptive smile of a flatterer. I know a flatterer and to see this smile is to see a deceitful, subtle and somewhat evil expression in the eyes. Notice that in most of these examples, there is a difference between the eyes and the mouth when smiling.

I would like to post about a subject that is rather difficult to put into words, but it has been on my heart for years, that being the subject of the smile, and particularly, the Christian lady who believes it is necessary for her to smile all the time. I say lady because I have never seen Christian men be part of this seeming need.

I have known many sincere, lovely, mostly elderly Christian ladies whose smiles made them look as though they were lit from within, full of joy and peace and these are wonderful to behold. On the other hand, I have known ladies who are smiling all the time, as though they get up in the morning, put on the smile and go about their day. Whether shopping in a mall, or out for a walk, or going to garage sales, that smile never leaves the face, but again, the smile is with the mouth and not with the eyes.

So why is this so common? I have been told for years that I am far too serious, and by another Christian lady, one who smiles all the time, that she is tired of seeing long-faced Christians.

The words smile, smiles, or smiled are not in the King James bible. There is no command to smile. There is the command to love one another: John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.” Joy is often mentioned. John 15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” But what is joy? Noah Websters 1828 describes joy as “a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good…happiness, to rejoice, to be glad..” I am very sure that if a person is smiling because they are joyful, they would have that most beautiful smile mentioned earlier, the smile that is lit from within, giving that beautiful glow, the eyes smiling with the mouth. The person with the merry heart.

And so I ask this question, when you smile, is it from within because you are so full of joy that you can’t help but smile? Or is it because as a Christian you think that it is your obligation to smile to everyone to try and show them that you are a Christian.. a smile that is not sincere, one that is put on, one that is with the mouth, but not with a joyful heart, one that does not come from within, one that does not light the eyes..

This post is not meant to cause offense, but one which I hope will be pondered.

Vcg/August 2015


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7 thoughts on “What is a Smile?

  1. Ikonick Images October 21, 2016 at 12:01 pm Reply

    A smile is something thetis impossible to judge, or explain. I love smiling at such questions.
    Seriously, though, a smile is something that makes me happy.


    • Vicki October 21, 2016 at 12:19 pm Reply

      thank you for commenting. I think that you would have to see what I have seen to understand the point I am trying to make in this post which is speaking of Christian ladies. The examples at the beginning of the post are different kinds of smiles we see on others. Perhaps when you see someone smile, look at their eyes separately from their smile. smiling eyes look a lot different from eyes that go with an insincere smile. But if my post made your eyes smile along with your mouth, that is a good thing and I am happy about that.


  2. peggyjoan42 October 21, 2016 at 4:17 am Reply

    As a Christian lady, when I smile it is a joyful smile that comes from within and it shows in my eyes. I have seen those you are talking about, with what I call fake smiles. You can tell if a smile is sincere and joyful. Good post Vicki

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vicki October 21, 2016 at 6:16 am Reply

      thank you very much for commenting on this post.. I am very thankful for your response on this subject which was difficult for me to write about.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Learning2Abide October 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm Reply

    I smile when something moves my heart to smile… But I will smile at someone as a plesent greeting, not to be insincere but to be polite. I don’t think I could do a long term fake it until you make it smile, that would be exhausting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vicki October 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm Reply

      thank you very much for commenting on this post. I think that it is lovely to smile to be polite, in a greeting.. my post is more aimed at those who smile all the time no matter what they are doing. I have a relative that does this.

      Liked by 1 person

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