A few years ago, I wrote a Faith Story called Reflections on a Life where I talked about the cliché “a smile goes a long way” and how a smile can bring joy even when we don’t realize it. I also mentioned the importance of telling someone when there is something you like about them, no matter how small or unimportant it may seem. I can’t say I practice this all the time, but a recent experience when I did this with a complete stranger reminded me to do it more often.
There I was, sitting in the Social Security Office waiting on my name to be called. Waiting and waiting! When you’ve waited long enough for your cell phone battery to say it’s time to shut off Words with Friends, the only thing to do is people watch. I was near the front door with a good view of everyone walking in. A “young-to-me” woman comes in by herself, rolling herself in on a wheelchair. Right away I noticed her smile! It struck me as so pleasant. Here is this woman, in a wheelchair, coming in to the Social Security Office to wait her turn. What could there be to smile about? But there it was. Striking! Beautiful! Noticeable! She checked in to get her number and then rolled around to my row. Since I was sitting on the end of the row, with ample room for a wheelchair next to me, she asked if she could sit next to me. I said, “Of course!” I told her how beautiful her smile was, and how I noticed it immediately when she came in. She thanked me and we chatted a few minutes about the process of waiting and being served at that office.
Fortunately for her, her number was called and I wished her luck getting in and out quickly. After a short while, her business was concluded and she wheeled back over to me before leaving. She came to thank me for the smile compliment and told me I’d made her day. We hugged. It was a beautiful moment that touched me as much or more than her I am sure. I was about two hours into an eventual four hour wait. That moment provided joy that made the wait so much more bearable. And it provided more moments in the days to come as I remembered Bryan and the lesson of his smile, and as I pondered about connections. In fact, the phrase that kept coming to me was “divinely connected.” We are all divinely connected. This woman I encountered and connected with so beautifully looked different from me, lived under totally different circumstances physically, and who knows how many other differences. But a SMILE is all it took to connect us at a basic human level. And divine connection reaches all the way to heaven. I felt a connection to Bryan through the smile encounter that day too. God is good! He gives us chances to remember we are all His in this kingdom here on Earth and in Heaven. Let us remember and care for one another by connecting even in the smallest of ways like a smile.