“SMILE THOUGH YOUR HEART IS ACHING. SMILE EVEN THOUGH ITS BREAKING…. AND SO ON” as Nat King Cole’s song ‘SMILE’ goes. “Oh! It’s hard and to thine own self be true!” I tell myself. But being me, I gave it effort, faced the mirror then forced a smile out: Ewww! Ugly! It made me think. Being hypocritical is undeniably disgusting. It makes one see something we detest and don’t want to be.
Transparency is a rule I lived by. What you see is what you get, gut-level honesty. I’ve always seen it futile to hide my emotions. It’s hopeless and wrong to be fake. Somehow, I expect people to just understand or let me be in the same way I read them and empathize. Personally, to be transparent and to be true, is my ideal way to live. Realistically, it’s really impossible for anyone to do consistently. When my child asked where my smile went days ago, I had to smile for her. Truthfully, I was so far from smiling at that time. However, I found joy in the love she showered me at that very moment. She enabled me to sincerely smile from my heart. Love truly is the best cure for mostly anything.
It has been man’s way to keep the mystery or put a mask on. It’s hard. But I do it more often now to not hurt anyone or do the right thing. I’d rather absorb the blows alone as much as I can. I choose to be kind which is the right thing to do. But like everyone else, I breakdown too. There’s only so much my heart can take until it says enough and cries out. I wish people I love could be a little sensitive as not to give me too much credit. I’m breakable like everybody else. However, I am deeply thankful that whenever things get too tough, my lifelines are there to rescue me or at least, bring my senses back in order. Times like these, make me acknowledge that I do need them more than they need me.
Remember, how it has been redundantly said “to be careful what you ask for because you might just get it”? I finally had to face this saying. In the months that passed I’ve been “happy-sad”. Happy, because God has given me a gift that for so long made me wonder how it’d feel like if it were given to me. Sad, because I can never claim it. But the smiles shone quite effortlessly. I rediscovered how to smile the joy that emanated deep in my heart that for so long, I have never done. I was being selfishly happy because I was finally doing something for myself. I haven’t felt this in a long time. I was VERY HAPPY and guilty at the same time. This happiness was like a good dream. It felt so good but like all dreams, it will remain a dream and I have to wake up and deal with reality and a very painful hangover. It’s ironically devastating that a part of me still wishes to not wake up at all.
I wished to fly free like a bird and do as my heart said but I had to look back on where I am needed the most. I have to remain anchored and do the right thing. I wished that I was the same fearless person I used to be but being married and a mother hinders me from being who I was. I’m no longer her. Psychology and Psychiatry would argue that this is a major character flaw on my part for the goal is to follow the so-called route to happiness centered on oneself. Truth is I don’t own ME anymore. I belong to my husband and my kids. Their happiness and needs is my life now. They come first. I also have a lot of expectations and standards to meet and I don’t have the mechanism to disappoint those that I love and care about. When theirs and these are met, then I get my own happiness.
Since I took my wedding vows, I have tried to live in the footsteps of the woman described in Proverbs 31. God has graciously made it happen though I still wonder how it came to be. My heart was and is joyful that God had helped me to be closely like her in so many ways. But being sneakily selfish in the past months had detoured me from that path. I need to go back and retrace my steps with the Lord’s Word as my guide.
During the time I smiled from my heart in the last few months, I realize that I hid part of myself from the Lord. I wrongfully thought that I was helping Him do His Will as everything that happens is within His Masterplan. He gave me a NUDGE that made me understand that He doesn’t need help in that area and that it was I, who needed to help myself and find Him in my confusion. This is a painful fact to accept but He was gracious to make me understand that this pain would be my source of hope and strengthened faith.
I am now travelling the road where I can find myself, the person I should be, my real self: refined and defined. Surely, healing and transformation has begun. Change truly is inevitable. We cannot avoid it no matter how hard we try. For more than half of my life, I have carried this with me. Now, I have to decide what to do. I’m afraid. I have to tell myself over and over again that God’s grace will see me through.
At some point, we all experience life and the feelings accompanied with it. The scenarios may differ but the emotions we feel are more likely the same. It gives us a clearer perspective or understanding that enables us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoe. We know the feelings too well to not care. The difference only lies on how we carried ourselves through them.
Whatever our fears, aspirations, pain or burdens might be, we have to regard them as God-given. They help us and our fellow strugglers find hope and strength amidst the chaos. Tears fall and these are God-given too. They help release and drain away the pain enabling us to take a deep sigh and move forward. The circumstances that bind us are God-given also. We can turn them into offerings, our gift back to God. May we see it as faithfully carrying part of the Cross’ weight, trusting that wherever it might lead us is God’s Will. With this, we will emerge victorious in the end. Sadness, anger and frustrations are gifts as well, they teach us compassion, patience and forgiveness.
Reflecting further, God never asked for much and gives exactly what we need while guiding us and humbling us to come to Him because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the eternal source of our hope, comfort and joy. His gifts, our spring of contentment. May we live for Him in love always and share ourselves for His Glory.
Ephesians 5:2 “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.“
May we remember to seek Him first and to quiet down our hearts and spirit to hear His Voice that’ll comfort and guide us; that’ll bring the smile back on our faces when smiling seems impossible.