Have you ever noticed that in old (and I mean real old photos) that no one smiles. When did that change?
Now, you can’t be in our family shots if you’re not smiling. Jen will take 100 pictures just to try to get a good smile out of everyone in the shot and that’s almost impossible to do with a 5 year old and 1 year old. Life is difficult enough, so why should we smile? There are more obstacles in a day than can be counted, and yet we’re supposed to smile. I know that joy is different than happiness. True joy comes in the form of being totally grateful that I have the opportunity to live here in the most free nation in the world, having the chances to get onto the internet without being censored in what I view or choose to share, and being fundamentally free to live whatever life seems best to me and my family. So I should smile, but I have 2 little boys who drive me crazy most of the time that they are awake and I have to worry about the world that they’re going to grow up in and if I’m doing a good enough job raising them the best that I know how… and sometimes it all seems so overwhelming.
That’s when I go outside and ride my bike, or run down to the river and squeeze in some line time with a few fish. It makes me happy now having some time to tie a few flies that have been bookmarked for years and I haven’t made time to try tying them. It seems ridiculous to say, but I actually smiled on the inside during this trip when it was raining and the boys and I were playing in it. I felt like I was finally where I was supposed to be when I looked around and realized that I was not in charge, that God was and it was OK if my plans didn’t work out quite the way I had wanted them to because playing with my boys in the rain was enough for that moment. I wasn’t too happy cleaning up afterwards, but we found the nicest hotelier who did our huge load of laundry for free after telling us he would charge only $5 per load (which we would have been thrilled to have paid in order to get dry socks and towels).
Thinking back on these things makes me smile now. It’s not during the hard times that we have that we should smile. It is thinking back and remembering that something greater than us has control and He’ll work it out. Even when we can’t see it in the present, the hindsight view is 20/20 and we can see how a little discomfort now can lead to a huge smile soon. So if you have a hard time now, just remember that time flies and soon you won’t have the opportunities that you have in front of you. Make the most of what you’ve been given and be grateful for it. Blessings don’t have to come with a smile now, but remember that they are still blessings. Try a smile out when it’s hard and see if that doesn’t help the situation!