It has always been said that giving a smile away leaves one richer. Indeed it does. There are many benefits to smiling, the importance of sharing some happiness through a smile can never be overstated. However, over the last few days I have come to discover being on the receiving end of a smile can also be life changing.
I spent the weekend with a few close friends of mine, days filled with fun and laughter. At some point, we wound up near what some would call a less fortunate neighbourhood. A cluster of houses made of iron sheets stood together with a common area in the middle for cooking and cleaning. At first, this was a depressing sight, leaving us wishing that we could make the lives of the residents living there a bit easier. Then we saw the children.
Right next to this little shanty town, there was a big pile of dirt, probably left there by contractors working on the high-rise buildings coming up next door. The most amazing thing was that these children made this dirt pile their playground. The mound of red volcanic soil was to these children a little paradise, providing them and their little pets an area to frolic. For all of twenty minutes, we watched the children play with their pet cats, chickens and even the occasional lamb, flinging the dirt around like it was snow on a warm winters day. The shrieks of pure joy were enough to remind us that if we see the world through the lenses of childlike innocence, wonder and amazement, we can be truly joyful regardless of the circumstances.
Just as we were about to leave, one of the children came up to us and offered us his little cat to play with. I will never forget the smile on that youthful face as my friend played with the cat and the rest of us looked on. There is truly something about a smile that warms the soul.
So I wrote this note to say thank you. Thank you to that little boy who blessed us with his radiant smile, thank you to the young person who smiles at strangers on the street, thank you to the parents who smile at their children and remind them every day that they are treasured and loved, and most importantly, thank you to you my dear reader. Thank you for all the times you smile even though life is tough. Thank you for being an encouragement to others and reminding strangers like me that indeed, life is beautiful.