I had a short stint of teaching school. I loved it so much — the students were amazing and I learned so much from them. One aspect I really loved was talking to the kids one-on-one. I loved hearing their stories, the things that tripped them up, their questions and doubts about spiritual things. I loved it all.
Eventually, I met some of the students’ friends who attended other schools. Maybe they attended the same church or just met in the community and I started talking with these kids too. One young man in particular stands out to me. One evening after a basketball game we were talking and he told me I was scowling. He said I often scowled when I was talking with him.
Well, that was disconcerting. I didn’t want to be scowling at people. So I explored it a bit with my class on Monday. They confirmed that I, indeed, scowl. As I listened to them I realized my face was saying something that my heart did not agree with. I wasn’t scowling at them. In my desire to listen carefully, my eyes narrowed a bit and my head tipped to one side and my mouth straightened into a line — all aspects of a perfect scowl — except I was just listening intently. I didn’t want to miss a single thing the students said.
Just a few weeks ago, I was talking to my youngest sister. After a few minutes she said, “I just love talking to you. Your face reflects everything I am saying.” I didn’t realize it but my face responded to excitement in her voice or if the story was sad, my face responded to that.
I’ve been thinking about my face. What does it say that I don’t mean for it to be saying? If my face tells a story, then I think others might as well. What if the story I am seeing isn’t the one the person intends to be telling? Or what if I looked closely? Would I see the pain that she tries so hard to hide? Would I see fear? Anxiety? Anticipation? How would that change how I approach an individual?
It has been said, “We cannot control the beauty of our face, but we can control the expression on it.” Sometimes I wonder if that is true. I have attempted a poker face; I’m not very good at it. My face just seems to say whatever I am seeing or feeling.
Last week in a hair salon, I saw this verse on their wall.
19As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.Proverbs 27:19
My question for myself, and for you, is this: what does your face reflect? Is it an accurate representation of what is inside? What do you see reflected in the faces of those around you? Are you pausing to see what others are saying without really saying anything?
Happy Monday! It’s going to be a great week!