An eleven-year-old girl, named Sarah, had Bell's Palsy to the left side of her face since she was born. This paralysis was a result from her mother who did drugs during the pregnancy. All of her life, Sarah did not have the ability to smile. When I heard this story, I thought how unfortunate. I cannot imagine not smiling -- even for one day.
A smile is one of the basic ways we connect to others. A baby smiles at the sound of his or her parents' voice or when they recognize their face. Adults smile for a number of reasons, whether good or bad. For instance, some smile because they are happy while others smile to mask their hurt and pain. Sarah's inability to smile finally took a toll on her, and she wrote an open letter to her classmates that was published in her school paper:
"Dear Friends: Do not look upon me with sorrow or pity. Do not judge me because I cannot smile. That does not mean I'm not happy. Look past the absence of my smile and get to know the real me, because if you do you will find a smile that cannot be explained . . . for it is Christ within me who is my only hope and true joy."
No smile for Sarah did not mean she wasn't happy. And I suppose if she could smile she probably would because she learned that a real smile can only come from a genuine joy -- the kind that Jesus gives and never takes away.
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