With the recent addition of my youngest nephew, I have seen a resurrection of focus in my family. Everyone is transfixed on under 10 pounds of delightful, wriggling baby. Every sound, every pose and definitely every smile.
Seeing the innocent curve of his lips, I realized in a skipped heartbeat how much lift a smile can have in the buoyancy of hope. So, I spent the last week paying close attention to people’s smiles. From rows of gleaming white to scattered toddler chompers (potentially the sharpest objects on the planet in the presence of fingers), I witnessed light flash and burst forth. I also saw the tired, this-is-my-last-ounce-of-energy grief smile doing its best to cloak pain. And, I glimpsed the nervous, you-make-my-pulse-race smile between a sweet couple a few seats over.
The smile that caught my breath and made me feel simultaneously blessed and concerned was the brief smile of gratitude from a spiritually troubled sister who craved one moment of comfort amidst a world of struggle.
When words fail to evoke the heart’s sentiment, when pain clouds your path and when darkness flirts at your door, hope stands nearby with a smile just for you. A smile, simple and natural, given freely to a stranger can transform a day. A smile, crinkly or broad, given suddenly to a coworker can diffuse a meeting. A smile, heartfelt and fun, given directly to a friend can inspire a grand smile in return.
Not every day is easy. Not every day is jubilant. But there is a hopeful high that comes from sharing a smile and receiving one in return. So, smile because you can. Smile as often as possible. Smile from your heart to your eyes. Hope is a smile away.