I read this week that a typical small child smiles six hundred times a day, and old men smile two and a half times a day. That tells you all you need to know about the course of human life.
As we get older, we get more “serious.” I put that in quotes, because mostly we’re not getting really serious about life—in which case we’d be smiling more like six hundred times a day—we’re just getting sourer and sourer. Life hasn’t worked out like we planned. Things have gone wrong. We can barely eke out two and half smiles a day.
We can’t smile, we can’t laugh when it all depends on us and we have to manage it all, keep it all going, “make it happen.” We can’t smile until we trust, relax a little, let it be. That’s the whole message of the gospel: that God has everything under control . . . so you don’t have to.
I could talk more about smiling, or just give you a reason right now to do it. So here’s one I heard recently.
An elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps. “Where would you like to sit?” he asked politely.
“The front row, please.” She answered.
“You really don’t want to do that,” the usher said. “The pastor is really boring.”
“Do you happen to know who I am?” the woman inquired.
“No.” He said.
“I’m the pastor’s mother,” she said indignantly.
“Well,” replied the usher, “do you happen to know who I am?”
“No.” she said.
“Good.” he answered.