When I type a colon with a right parenthesis in Microsoft Word, it automatically makes it a round, happy face. Now there are hundreds of emoticons, but the happy face was the first. I know many are regular users of emoticons as we continue our endless cultural quests to communicate as briefly and impersonally as possible.
Let’s talk about the smiley face :). The inventor is Dr. Scott Fahlman, and he has worked his entire 40 year career at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. His field of study is actually artificial intelligence (AI). It was way back on September 19, 1982 he created the smiley face, which will likely outlast his career working with AI and define his legacy.
Here’s the backstory: Fahlman invented the smiley when he noticed some of his colleagues were having trouble recognizing jokes or sarcasm on an electronic bulletin board. He wrote: “The need for a ‘joke marker’ arose after a series of posts speculating about various things that could happen in a free-falling elevator. Would a pigeon in the elevator keep flying? Would a lit candle go out? What would a puddle of mercury do?” Fahlman says, “What’s amusing is that [after] a forty-year career working on AI—I could solve AI and I know what the first line of my obit would be.” Apparently, by his own admission, his legacy is sealed. He’s the smiley face guy.
Most of us will not have the joy or burden of inventing something that will forever mark us. But we will all be remembered for something. We are creating our legacy every day.
This Sunday we will look at one of the most amazing pieces of poetry ever written. It is the 139th Psalm, and it will show us what precious thoughts God has for us. These precious thoughts will encourage us to live a life that promotes an enduring legacy of gratitude and trust in the all-knowing, all-seeing Creator of the universe. Here’s how the poem/prayer ends:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
– Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Walking the path of everlasting life is much more than a smiley face.
See you Sunday,,