Photo by Kat Smith from Pexels

The gift of smile

It was a trying day.  Bogged down with work woes and personal struggle, I trudged into a neighborhood bookstore to look for distraction in a novel.  Amazon was still just a name of a faraway rain forest and online shopping was non-existent yet.  Not that I minded it one bit.  I loved that little bookstore and miss it terribly.  But, I digress.

A book caught my eye as I walked down the fiction/mystery section and I was starting to flip through the pages when I felt tears starting to well up.  I tried to hide my face behind the book and casually wiped the tears away.  The store was unusually crowded too and the last thing I needed were eyes on me.  But, the tears, despite my plea, continued slowly down my face.  My emotional lid was about to burst open at the worst possible time.  I tried to keep as still as possible and kept my face hidden behind the book.  No one would notice.  No one should notice… I wiped away the tears again, as casually as I could, as if I was rubbing my eyes.  I decided it was time to make a run for the exit before I started sobbing.

I quickly put down the book and that’s when she stepped in front of me.  She was a small elderly lady, her gray hair a little disheveled.  She looked hesitant and unsure of what to do.  Then she gave me a smile, a toothless one at that too. Not a question, not a word.  Just a warm and genuine smile.  I just quickly nodded my head and left.  I wish I could have thanked her but my throat was constricted from all the holding back.

I learned something that day.  Never underestimate what a smile can accomplish.  No, it wasn’t an answer to my problems.  But, that smile understood my duress and offered solace.  That smile was compassion. She was a stranger but her simple gesture of kindness made a difference.  To know that someone wanted to help and that someone had cared, no matter how briefly, meant a lot to me.  I realized then that I can pass on a sliver of encouragement to others too by giving the gift of smile.

And just in case you need one, I am giving you a smile today. 🙂


Featured image by Kat Smith from Pexels

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