Can’t Smile?

The recent news about Leona Helmsley leaving a huge amount of her fortune to her dog in place of certain members of her family helped inspire this piece.The following is a writ from a columnist, Erma Bombeck, who was a very popular commentator for many years in most of the syndicated newspapers in the United States. This one is a typical example of her humor and wisdom:
If you can’t smile in church- where else?
     In church the other Sunday I was intent on a small child who was turning around smiling at everyone. He wasn’t gurgling, spitting, humming, kicking, tearing the hymnals or rummaging through his mother’s handbag. He was just smiling.
     Finally, his mother jerked him about and in a stage whisper that could be heard in a little theatre off Broadway said, "Stop that grinning! You’re in church!" With that, she gave him a belt on his hindside and as the tears rolled down his cheeks, added, "That’s better," and returned to her prayers.
     What must they think, these children of the 70s? We sing, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord" while our faces reflect the sadness of one who has just buried a rich aunt who left everything to her pregnant hamster.
     We chant, "If I have not charity, I am become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." Translated in the parking lot it comes out, "And the same to you, fella!"
     Suddenly I was angry. It occurred to me that the entire world is in tears and if you’re not, then you’d better get with it. I wanted to grab this child with the tear-stained face close to me and tell him about my God. The happy God. The smiling God. The God who had to have a sense of humor to have created the likes of us.
     I wanted to tell him he is an understanding God who understands little children who pick their noses in church because they are bored. He understands the man in the parking lot who reads comics while his wife is attending church. He even understands my shallow prayers that implore, "If you can’t make me thin, then make my friends look fat."
     I wanted to tell him I’ve taken a few lumps in my time for daring to smile at religion. By tradition, one wears faith with the solemnity of a mourner, the gravity of a mask of tragedy and the dedication of a Rotary badge.
     What a fool, I thought, here was a woman sitting next to the only light left in our civilization… the only hope, our holy miracle…our only promise of infinity. If he couldn’t smile in church where was there left to go?
     I was reminded of a story of a stranger who went into a church one day that was not his own. He mingled with the parishioners patting them on the back, talking loudly and laughing in a gesture of friendship. The parishioners were shocked with his familiarity and horrified at this "lack of respect" for a place of worship. He was asked to leave.
     On the doorstep, he was approached by God who said, "Cheer up, fella, I’ve been trying to get into that church for years." 
The fifth paragraph grabs my attention because it’s true that the world is a sad mess. It’s certainly worse now than it was in the 70s or even the 80s leave alone the 90s. However, I can’t help but think that we are contributing no good to the world if we can’t rise above all these problems. If we don’t smile, laugh and try to make the best of the situations then we are only contributing to the problem- not solving it.
The Castle Lady, solving problems one kiss at a time!

About Evelyn

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10 Responses to Can’t Smile?

  1. Snowie says:

    Yes, I love castle…And also I like the name of " The Castle Lady." Wow, sorry for I just found your commend on my new shoes…
    I love smiling, I try my best to smile as much as I could, unless I found I am really down or despaired, but still would ask myself to find my smiling back.
    It looks your occupation cool, I like travel writer the most…maybe one day I would be a travel writer as well, let me set it up as one of my dreams.
    Have a nice day…


  2. Evelyn says:

    Hi Snoopy! I looove that too! I always liked Snoopy, he\’s my favorite Peanuts character. I use graphics for him a lot on my French blog . My next entry on there which is scheduled to go in today has another so take a look at it!
    How would you like to work on all the Asian temples and palaces? I have some nice post cards which a friend of
    mine brought back from China of all these places. Think it over.


  3. . says:

     Buenos días, "Solo los valientes cambian el destino del mundo con la fuerte convicción de lo humanamente íntegro. Haz de la Paz tu única bandera, haz de la Nobleza tu único idioma."Saludos
    Good morning,"Single the brave ones change the destiny of the world with the strong conviction of the humanly complete thing. Beam of the Peace your only flag, beam of the Nobility your only language."Greetings
    Gracias – Thanks


  4. momo says:

    happy birthday for the 5
    and kissssss
    have a wonderful birthday
    good week end


  5. Evelyn says:

    Hi Wolf Man! This is how I would write your credo: The valiant ones march single file to change the destiny of the world with their strong convictions and integrity. Let peace be your only flag, nobility and language.
              Hope I\’m up for it. Bonne chance. Bon courage. Peace man!   ;  )  
    Thanks for the wonderful birthday greetings Oli. C\’est sympa partager le signe Vierge avec toi. Nous sont incorrompable!
                                                                                     The Castle Lady    Bisous a` tout , kisses all around! Besos!


  6. Delete52Mitch says:

    "The Queen of Mean." I\’m with you all the way. Much love from Alabama. Mitch 


  7. 예림 says:

    Long time no see.These day ,I\’m so busy.I must go to school all day.
                                                           One kiss for you.


  8. 예림 says:

    Yes,is a song…. 
    The name is   And then we kiss.


  9. Brennan says:

    Hello to you!  It\’s been a long, long time since my last visit.  I have had quite the hectic schedule.  Now that I have more free time, I wanted to catch up on all the happenings on msn spaces… wanted to stop by and say hello to you!
    Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself… I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn\’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I\’m going to be happy in it.  It may not always turn out that way, but5 I\’ll be damned if I am going to waste my time pouting or bring others down with me.
                Great space here… I certainly have much to catch up on.    ((smiles for you))


  10. Evelyn says:

    Wow! I wish more people had your convictions Brennan, esp. about keeping a good attitude. Sometimes it\’s the only way to keep going. Thanks for visiting my space and I\’ll be by one of these days soon.
                                                                                        Evelyn, The Castle Lady  


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