Smile today — A lot! I’m serious, SMILE … :)

Willow Creek’s Urban campus meets at the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago

Yesterday in Chicago I attended the urban branch of Willow Creek Community Church that meets downtown.

I went an hour early and watched the team set up and do all the sounds checks and get the offering buckets in place and listened as they made last minute changes.  Very interesting to watch the team scurry around getting all the details in order ….

There seemed to be about 40 or so people involved in the pre-service set-up and I’d say the average age was about 30.  The campus pastor of Willow Creek’s urban campus, Jon Klinepeter, is young himself.

At one point a 25-something young man, clearly part of the team, walked by where I was sitting and smiled the biggest smile, smiling with both his mouth and his eyes.  Then he said, “Goood morning.  You’re going to like this morning.”  I didn’t say anything.  I just smiled back.

I sat there feeling very welcome and good about myself.  I had been sitting there thinking, “Wow, do I feel old around here.”  But suddenly this young man smiled and the world changed! 

So I’ve been thinking about smiling this morning.  Guess what?  I’m for it!

I even have a few smiling thoughts:

* Generally speaking, you have to decide to smile.  Mostly I think that means deciding you like people.  So when you approach someone today decide to think, “I like you.”  It makes a big difference.  Conversely, if you decide, “I just don’t like people,” you can’t then be saying or thinking, “I’m so unhappy.  Nobody ever smiles at me.”  Hmmm.  I wonder why no one would smile at a grouch?

*  Smile with your eyes. No, really.  Try it.  It’s hard to fake.  You can fake a smile with your mouth.  It’s hard to fake a smile with your eyes.

* Smile everywhere you go today … At work, when you drive by yourself, at your co-workers, at Starbucks, at the grocery store after work, when you see your kids or your spouse. (Obviously you have to use discretion here.  I get that.  A man should of course be careful about his smiles at a pretty woman and a woman should use caution when smiling a “strange” man.  But you get my point.)

* Smile when you talk on the phone.  No kidding.  You think people won’t know?  They will. People can tell if you are smiling even when they can’t see your face. Of course they can.

So friends, do you want to trigger positive emotions in yourself and in others today?  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.  Well, you know what to do — SMILE!

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