It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime. – Steve Mariboli
On December 2, 2014, I shared a blog post describing how I’d given up hope. That year had been one of defeat, and as the year drew to a close, my heart ached almost constantly.
The following day, December 3, 2014, I stumbled my way through my morning routine. I dropped the kids off at school, and on the drive home, I contemplated going back to bed so I could forget the ache that life seemed to be dealing me in massive doses. As I turned right at a traffic light, there sat my neighbor in her car, waving at me, flashing me the huge, bright smile she gave everyone. With that one gesture, she gave me hope. I messaged her later that day to tell her how much I appreciated her smile and how she had made my day. She replied in her customary, encouraging way.
I’ve often turned at that traffic light over the past couple of years and remembered my neighbor waving and smiling and giving me hope. Just the memory of that moment has brought me immeasurable hope.
Last week, my neighbor died unexpectedly. I’ve read dozens upon dozens of Facebook comments posted by her friends and family who wanted to remember and share all the ways she impacted their lives. Many stories were similar to my own. Her smile and encouraging words were infectious.
Mother Teresa said that a smile is the beginning of love. I know that to have been true of my neighbor. She loved people well with her smile, with her encouraging words, and with her acts of kindness.
We never know when a simple smile will change the course of someone’s day. We never know how much a smile can ease a burdened heart. A smile can be the encouragement someone is looking for to get through another day.
May we always remember the value of smiles, and may we always give them away freely.
*In memory of Diana Hussey*