Back when I was an annoying little preteen, I had a temporary moment of maturity and established the first of my personal tenets of Life. If I could make just one person smile per day, just think of the smiles I’d produce over a lifetime.I don’t really know where it came from, but I would wake-up everyday with that one mission on my mind. I took it seriously. Creating a laugh had always come naturally. I grew up in a wonderful family, went to church every Sunday, then came home to study The Three Stooges and The Marx Brothers on the old black & white TV.
I once made my middle sister laugh so hard at our Thanksgiving Dinner, that she blew a green pea out of her nose. But that didn’t really count towards ‘one smile per day’, I was just doing my job as an older brother.
When creating a legitimate smile, it had to come from the lips of a stoic face, or better yet, a frown. Turn that frown upside down.
As I grew into a teenager, the smiles and laughs continued. A younger high school classmate stopped me in the hallway one day to tell me that she’d never seen me not smile until the previous night’s basketball game. My competitive side had no time for smiling.
But then I slowly became a cynical adult. Sure, the laughs and smiles were still there. But the tenet of producing that one special smile per day faded behind the insatiable urge to make money and become special to a big company, each and every day.
Between then and now, I’ve produced many a smile, but have also caused tears and sadness from perfectly wonderful people. The saying goes “Live your life with no regrets”, but I have had quite a few.
So, I’m watching a video the other day. Now, you don’t have to watch this entire video, but something struck me as obvious as I watched it. As part of a ‘University Project’, random strangers were photographed after being told they were beautiful. What struck me as obvious was each and every person smiles (or laughs) after being told so. There are numerous similar such projects on the Internet, each with a consistent result of smiles. Which got me thinking…
…I was half falling asleep the other evening, thinking about that day and the next, when something dawned on me. I hadn’t thought about my juvenile pledge of smiles for many, many years.
The next afternoon, I went to visit my Dad in the assisted living facility that he’s recently made a stop at. As I was walking the long hallway towards his room, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair, a fellow resident, who was wearing a gown with a colorful, floral pattern. I paused for a moment, leaning over to speak…
“I love all the flowers. You look beautiful”
And she smiled a great big smile.
Now, I’m not saying to go out tomorrow and tell everyone you meet that they are beautiful. Gosh, I’d be arrested or in a fist-fight within a week. But, I’m probably way behind on my one-smile-a-day average and I know just the place where I can get myself back on track.