Today I drove to the hospital for a cancer screening. They needed to take a blood sample… again, says the person who hates needles. But I decided to make the best of it because for about the last 5 months I’ve had a little too much of being poked, prodded and screened (with no definitive results). I was tired of being tired of it all.

No, this time I would make it different. I was going to smile all the way there.

I smiled my biggest smile. Did it seem fake? Of course! I felt like Jack Nicholson playing the role of The Joker. But I was determined to “Fake it till you make it.” I could feel the muscles in my cheeks begin to ache and decided they needed more of a workout. I made a slight tilt of the head to see my reflection in the rear-view mirror. I looked ridiculous! I wondered what passersby might think, seeing the silly grin on my face. Now that’s funny! I thought. In a magical moment, my smile turned authentic.

I decided to get creative with different kinds of smiles. I tried funny, quirky ones, subtle and dramatic ones. I even snapped a few photos while the car was stopped.

Not once did I think about a needle being poked in my arm or the reasons for it.

At the hospital, I asked the nurse to tell me about her children as she poked the needle through my skin. It helped me focus on positive things. I looked at the small table in front of me and asked, “Just one vial today?”

“Yes,” she smiled. I was grateful for that and grateful for her smile. I’m also thankful my body has blood enough to spare.

I do wish she hadn’t wrapped the bandaging so tightly. “Wait 15 minutes before removing,” she said.

Nope. That didn’t happen. As soon as I was out the door, it came off. But I stood a little taller walking to my car, having completed an uncomfortable task.

As I sat in my car, practicing my smile, I took another photo op, then glanced to see if anyone was watching me. That’s when I noticed her. She was sitting in the car next to me…crying.

My heart sank. I nonchalantly glanced over a couple of times, then watched as she neatly folded up the tissue and patted under her eyes while she looked in the mirror. I so wished I had paper and a marker close by. I’d write, “Don’t worry. Everything is going to be okay,” and then hold it against my passenger-side window.

Everything IS going to be okay.
It really is.

So smile even when you don’t feel like it. It’s particularly effective in public. You just might be making someone’s day, even if that person is you.

I started my car and began driving down the street. A song by Mandisa was playing on the radio.

“You’re and overcomer. Stay in the fight til the final round. You’re not going under cuz God is holding you right now… “  That’s when I started crying.

So go listen to and watch Mandisa’s “Overcomer” video. And always know that God is holding you close.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me when a smile or song has helped you. Leave a note in the comments below.