Smile

Is a smile saying that you’re ready to face the world or that you’re ready to face the world with a smile?

A old man who has dementia. His face is like a waterfall of wrinkles. He has no teeth and there is a gaping hole leading to his mouth. He can’t even remember his doting wife’s name. But he smiles. The wrinkles now become warm, comforting, and welcoming.

The little girl in Mali with her adult teeth first starting to poke through. Her life dire with war going all around her. Her parents are dead. She had no idea what those just beginning adult teeth will have to endure, but she smiles.

Eccdentesiast – one who fakes a smile. We all fake smiles. When we say that we are happy to see someone when we are really not. When we are trying to get something. We smile at a child’s joke to make them feel better. We smile to say that everything is all right, when it isn’t.

What is the difference between a fake, pasted on smile and a real truly joyful one? Is it the eyes? Their crinkle in the nose? The upturn of mouth a little more?  How do you make pure joy appear on one’s face?

The interesting thing about memories is that you don’t remember the actually memory, but the last time you recalled that memory. A study by Northwestern Medicine concluded the following, “This study shows how memories normally change over time, sometimes becoming distorted. When you think back to an event that happened to you long ago — say your first day at school — you actually may be recalling information you retrieved about that event at some later time, not the original event.” (More information at http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/09/your-memory-is-like-the-telephone-game.html)

Knowing this, doesn’t it make you almost not want to remember your favorite memory – in case you distort it?


We can’t remember parts of our childhood, but it seems like we can through pictures. We look back through pictures and only remember what we saw in the picture not the experience. In the pictures everyone is smiling, but we don’t remember the event enough to tell if that was a fake or real smile. Everything begins to blur together because our distorted memory.

Look at a picture of someone you know well who is their only reason for smiling is for a camera. Is it their true smile? It almost looks like the smile they give you when they truly mean it, but it’s not. What’s missing?

Now think of their real smile.

But I couldn’t. The person I’m closest to, and I couldn’t remember her real smile. Is it because I can remember her so well crying with tears streaking and heaving breathes? I can remember her angry face. I can remember the absolute terror to overwhelming love. But I can’t picture one face of her’s that shows complete and utter happiness.

So that’s why I said ‘someone you know well’ because I can picture my friends and family with their truest and real smiles, but not the person I’m closest to. I think this is because we know them too well. You know their intricacies.

Does the fake picture smile and real smile start to blur together because you are remembering it too much? Does life do this to us also? Does life turn and flip and distort what is real and what isn’t? Does the fake petty life start to take over the real? Do you lose the twinkle in your eye?

Is it worst to be told that you never had a twinkle in your eye, or that you had a twinkle but lost it?

Have we never had the real life or have we lost it?

Fake verses Real.

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2 responses »

  1. For me, my most precious memories are the ones where my children’s smiles come from inside (not picture smiles) – where they smile (and joy) cannot be suppressed – I think of those often and would never want to forget them!

    Like

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