It’s Hard Not to Smile

It’s hard not to smile when it’s the only thing you can do.
When language divides,
when touch isn’t trusted,
when words aren’t enough.

It’s hard not to smile when sharing in someone’s joys.
When asked if you believe in miracles.


Miracles of a woman -once marked as barren- now growing swollen with life,
of a girl with a heart disease -once proved fatal- disappearing without a trace of lingering evidence,
of a family- upon a notice of eviction- finding a home that very day,
of a refugee- sad and alone- befriended immediately after begging God’s comfort mercies.

It’s hard not to smile when I get down on my knees to pray.
To pray a prayer of overwhelming humility,
a prayer of gratitude in all circumstances,
a prayer of confidence in the God I pray to.

It’s hard not to smile when I know I have absolutely nothing to give.
Nothing to give because He gave it all for me.
For Him, I offer but my obedience,
my contrite heart,
my songs of praise.

It’s hard not to smile when I know I’ve been beat, bested by God’s best.
Bested by His counter-attack to my resistance,
by wrestling my heart back into His care,
by pursuing me until I receive pursuit.

It’s hard not to smile when I’m in the center of His will.
The center of His perfect peace,
His delight,
His kingdom plan.

It’s hard not to smile when I am overflowing.
When I leave my house with a full cup,
ready to bless, to encourage, to aid.
Expectant to pour it out,
yet I return even fuller than before.

It’s really, really, REALLY hard not to smile.


It’s Something

Women and children keep flooding in. New ones. Raw from fleeing their homes for the sake of their lives. Children uprooted from normalcy, from childhood. Mothers uprooted from security, from community; alone. Father uprooted from years of stabilizing their families. Identities lost. Careers meaningless. Clueless. Jobless.

Fighting to maintain and preserve their humanity among the thousands upon thousands of all the other fish out of water.

Waiting in long lines with hopes that their names will be put on the list to get diapers, milk, and fruit. Traveling at the crack of dawn for 5 hours to eat a hot meal. Towing their tots into an overwhelmingly crowded room crawling with others seeking similar refuge.

Here they meet handfuls of volunteers whose sole intent is to smother them in kindness, love, acceptance, and attention. To make these kids giggle at the silly face or the finger poke in their ribs. To sing songs, play games, and tell stories o the ones who can’t even yet talk. To sit with women while they string limpid craft beads into complex designs- working fingers expressing their aching freedom.

My simple offerings seem mundane in context to their extreme hardships. It doesn’t seem like anything. But it’s something. And EVERY something matters.

Every smile counts.
Every cup of nescafe. Every lump of sugar. Every kiss on the cheek.

Giving in the ways I know how. Embracing the new women into our haven, filling every chair, making this a place of belonging. A place without worries. A constant in their routines.

Something certain, familiar, and welcoming. Where tears can be shared, but where joy can penetrate all. A little bit of heaven here on earth.