1. When someone falls and I’m not sure if they’re okay yet.
2. When I get a heart-warming or laugh-out-loud text in a public place, namely on a train.
3. When someone pays me a compliment that I am too bashful to accept.
4. When someone I love is visibly upset over something that I don’t think is that big of a deal.
5. When something inappropriate happens in a solemn place. Like a fart.
The reasons behind trying to hide these smiles vary: social appropriateness, kindness, or just plain old instinct. And in most of these situations, it is right that I should hold back. But I recently had an experience on a train that caused me to question whether or not I should hide my smile in the case of a funny or heart-warming text in a public place.
I had the privilege to bear witness to someone else’s reaction to a funny or heart-warming text. I can best describe the smile I saw as a secret laugh– a large smile with a slight puff of air out of the nose as the person glanced at their phone. It brought me joy because I know what it is to get that simple, yet so meaningful type of communication. Feeling what it felt to watch someone else smile like that, I decided that I will no longer hold back my reactions to said text messages.
However, as difficult as it is, I will continue to try to stifle laughter when I hear someone fart in church.