It is meant to be a challenge for me.
If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.
I think of the times we're snapping at each other around the house, and then visitors come over and everybody puts on a happy face. Or I'm crabby with the kids in the car, and then I walk into the store and am the nicest person in the world to the clerk and other shoppers.
Why is it I can suck it up for others, but not the ones I love the most?
Recently, my husband and I were watching an episode of The Waltons (the best TV show ever made!) on DVD. John Boy was having a bad day and snapped at his mother, who replied, "Are you angry with me, John Boy, or am I just handy?" What a great line! And likely the reason our loved ones are subject to the brunt of our bad moods -- they're just handy, they live with us.
But therein lies the challenge. And the call to holiness.
At our house, my dear husband gets the shortest end of my stick.
He works hard all day and comes home to find ... peace and tranquility? I wish. Maybe someday. We'll keep working on it.
After dealing with small crises all day, I am usually completely worn out by the time the dinner hour arrives (also known as "the witching hour" around here). My ability to communicate effectively has nearly diminished. My patience is gone. All I want is the kids in bed.
This is what my husband walks into most nights. And most nights he steps right into the pandemonium to relieve me. And after working just as hard as I do. All day.
My hubby rarely gets my smile, my best attention, my best energy, my best anything. He gets what's left of me at the end of the day. And sometimes that isn't too pretty, or easy to live with.
And he never complains about it. And he still loves me. And THAT brings me great JOY.
So, sweetie, this smile's for you! I love you!