I began reading a most excellent book a couple months ago (I take a long time to read books) called “Becoming a Healing Presence” by Albert S. Rossi. Dr. Albert Rossi is a licensed clinical psychologist and a Christian Educator and has a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, which is where I first was introduced to him. His podcast is by the same name as the book. His podcast and book both have made a great impact on me in terms of this journey to joy I have begun. Becoming a healing presence is about how we affect the people around us, my journey to joy is about how to bring joy to those around me all the while watching the joy grow within my own body and soul.
An excerpt from page 86 of this book particularly spoke to me. It is a section titled “Gentleness through a soft smile”:
“We can take to heart these words of Mother Theresa: ‘Love Jesus & keep a smiling heart for Him.’ We might ask what is a smiling heart? Of course, a smiling heart is a matter of attitude, an inner light of delight. A smiling heart expresses itself in a soft smile, especially when alone. When we are alone, we are never really alone. Jesus is always present, whether we are cognizant of it or not. When we are aware of His abiding presence, how can we not have a soft smile of appreciation & joy?
Mother Theresa also said, ‘Accept all He gives & whatever He takes with a big smile. For this is holiness—to do His will with a big smile.’ The Lord wants us to joyfully desire His way, His plans, His will.’
Smiling can be a special challenge when things get tough. By faith, we know Christ is not apart from us during times of sorrow & trial. Met. Anthony Bloom said, ‘The greater the opposition, the greater also is the evidence that help is at hand. The devil never attacks us so violently as when we are quite close to the end of our strength.’ Hence, the greater the inner or outer opposition, the greater the call for a soft smile.
You might ask, how can I become more of a healing presence? Sometimes we are looking for influential deeds or striking interventions. Mother Theresa said, ‘I will never understand all the good a simple smile can accomplish.’ Perhaps a good concrete way to begin to become a healing presence is to smile softly more, even when alone.”
I am so grateful for this book and podcast by Dr. Rossi as it has given me a lot to think about. A lot of encouragement and self-reflection as I journey on this path to joy. As I read more I will surely share with you.
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And before I leave you, for Throwback Thursday, let me share with you a picture of two of the most beautiful women I grew up with and who always had “soft smiles” for everyone. Look at these soft smiles on my two grandmothers. May the memory of their soft smiles ever be eternal!