Why We All Need to Smile a Little More



Good morning, Birthday Boy!

So I woke up remembering how you just about choked me silly on the beach this summer, made me laugh like a mama’s not supposed to! Because that’s just what you do—make folks smile when they least expect it, when all they see is the next tragic headline or pressing deadline or how they could really use some downtime!

Yeah, this cracked world needs a little tickle, like maybe a few more grins and giggles would fill broken gaps and bring us all a little closer. Like if we had some more Dalton-zany, we’d be more connected, linked together in the quirkiness of things. Because sometimes you really do have to laugh to keep from crying and a simple smile really does go a long way in such a hurting world.

And I wasn’t expecting to need a bladder suspension at forty-seven, but we busted out the other day until it just wasn’t even funny anymore! And you couldn’t even stay standing and our rectus abdominals and internal and external obliques were on holy fire and I’m still trying to correct the ridiculous facial contortion! (Insert super wide smiley face here!) Yeah, it does my heart good to think of you, Child—my joy, Boy.

And that was my gift, the word I gave you a couple of Christmases ago. We’d decided to forego the traditionalisms, save the department store employees some added stress, and celebrate one thing only … Jesus.

So lighting our “lamps” around the makeshift manger that crisp, peace-filled morning, each family member with their rightfully deserved and Mama appointed/anointed “spiritual” name attached, I looked up from the glow, saw your shining eyes there, saw your candle tag dangling with “JOY” typed on it, and whispered “Thank you, God.”

You see, Son, He spoke some sacred words to us“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11) What did He mean talking about all that joy when we live in a wrecked place like this? When bombs in war-torn countries blow up innocent children left and right, and black and blue are so scared of each other they just start shooting, and babies get tossed in trash bins like yesterday’s scraps. And everywhere we turn there is more heartache than hearts can stand.

Come close, My Boy, lean in and listen hard … He didn’t stop there.  That wasn’t all. He said more in that same sacred space, told us exactly what He meant, how this “joy” could be complete… “My command is this. Love each other as I have loved you.” … Again He repeats … “This is my command, that you love one another.”  

Oh Son, if you never hear anything I say, hear this one thing … love and never stop loving. Laugh till it hurts like you and I did in the kitchen that day. Keep making people smile like you made us smile at your brother’s wedding—trying to lick His face! (Insert super wide grin number two!) Use your one precious God-given life to lift crushed spirits, to point them to the One who loves them most, to be quirky in a stiff and ridged world that desperately needs to loosen up! Pour love into needy souls, my Boy, the same love God poured into you long before that beautiful September 24th afternoon, twenty-three years ago. And never, ever stop depositing joy in your own, unique and silly ways.

Can’t wait for our joyous celebration and your all-time favorite, Daddy’s dumplings!

Have a wonderful Birthday, Son, and much, much love!







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