October 26
 Life is not made up of great
sacrifices and duties but of little
things in which smiles and kindness
given habitually are what win and
preserve the heart and secure comfort.

Humphrey Davy


Today's Meditation:

Yesterday I was walking through the elementary school wing of our building and I saw a little girl about five years old walking towards me.  She was wearing shoes that had lights in them, and she looked incredibly friendly.  Our eyes met and we smiled at each other.  "Your shoes are really cool," I said, and her smile grew even bigger and she positively beamed.  Her smile made my day much, much brighter, and it's something that sticks in my mind and brightens each moment that I think of it.

Many years ago, on a cold and dreary winter morning in Salamanca, the same thing happened to me.  A little girl on the street, holding her mother's hand--our eyes met, and we shared a smile that has stuck with me for three decades.  That smile is still with me, while so many other things that I thought might have been very important to me have fallen by the wayside, and are no longer in my mind.  In my life I remember more the smiles and the hugs and the words of encouragement that I've been blessed to give to and receive from others than I remember the jobs or the tasks or even many of the "accomplishments" that I've achieved.

That's why I fully believe in Humphrey's words.  The things that have touched my heart are the things that stay with me and that keep me constantly remembering how positive life can be, how powerful a simple smile can prove.  I've shared such smiles with adults, too, but more rarely--children seem to have a greater ability to include their hearts in their smiles.

I've had very big successes in life, but to be completely honest, if I were to choose which memory I would like to have foremost in my mind all the time, I would choose one of these smiles from people that I don't even know than I would a graduation or an award.  I would choose my wife's smile at our wedding over the wedding itself, and I would choose times spent sharing silence with loved ones over any times spent in cheering crowds.  Life is filled with simple, deep moments, and if we can truly appreciate the depth and beauty of those moments, much of the rest of life becomes much more positive.

Questions to consider:

Why do we tend to undervalue the simple kindnesses that others show us?

What to you is the best part of a shared smile or a simple kindness?

Do you search out opportunities to share smiles and simple kindnesses of your own?

For further thought:

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
They are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along
life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.

Joseph Addison

More on smiles.  -  More on kindness.


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