Friday, April 29, 2011

A Smile is Etiquette, Duty, and Privilege

Writing for the Mission Station Pastoral Bulletin a lay person from the Andong Diocese recounts his problems with smiling. He tells us he talks often of the importance of smiling, both in private and when he lectures.

However, something that perplexed him greatly happened recently. He was asked to give his picture to a magazine, so he went to the photo studio to have his picture taken. The photographer took 10 shots and asked him to select one. The photographer asked him to say kimchi, cheese, and even whiskey, repeatedly.  The photographer shook his head and said, "Sorry, sir, but the smile is not coming across."

He returned home and with the help of his wife, practiced smiling.  However, again he wasn't able to do it. What resulted was an  awkward expression. He felt it was his  failure to smile in the past that brought him to this plight, "A day that you don't smile or laugh is a day lost," he remembered thinking--a time of  not loving or receiving love.

He tells us that God gave us two  instruments we can use to show we are loved: one is the bright smile and the other tender words. Practice makes perfect and that is also true in this area of smiling and kind words. This has to be worked at before a mirror, he says. Smiling comes with practice and needs  effort.

The writer tells us about a young man who lost his job  and tried to get work for over a year with no luck. He finally went to an employment office and noticed that those who were hired were not the young, those of  sturdy built, or the well dressed, but those with a bright expression. The young man practiced before a mirror for a week and finally did get a job.

The writer tells us if one examines carefully and with patience they will see that one who can smile continually is a good person. There are many times we greet others perfunctorily. When we shake hands, we turn our gaze from the person and miss the chance to receive love and  recognition. He tells us if we are not prepared to smile and say some kind words when meeting another, we should postpone the encounter.  A smile is etiquette, duty and privilege.

The writer admits that he still cannot smile comfortably and naturally. Although not indicative of the way he feels, he inadvertently and habitually greets others with a vacant stare.  When that happens, he brings to mind the words of a salesman. Having worked hard all day and, now tired, returning home, he stops for a few moments in the hall way, regains his  composure and with a deep breath tells himself he will be meeting--and greeting--the last customer of the day.

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