Keep Smiling

One of my favorite quotes is by Gandhi; “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

In other words,  if I want to see more smiling faces, then I need to smile more.

But what about the people who don’t smile back?  Do I take it personally and wonder what the hell their problem is, or do I remind myself that it isn’t about me, it’s about them and their issues?  While it’s tempting to go with my initial thought, I don’t.

How do I know what is going through someone elses mind at any given moment?  Who am I to judge?  Why do we all tend to make assumptions about each other?  Is the other person automatically a jerk for not reciprocating a smile or could they possibly just have something else going on in their lives that is distracting them from the moment?

Maybe it is as simple as they just didn’t see me smile, or maybe they are struggling with something.  Maybe they are in deep thought about a recent diagnosis of a loved one, or replaying an argument in their mind that they just had with their spouse.  Or, they could be wondering how they are going to get by this week with just $4 left in their pocket and a family to feed.  There are millions of reasons why, and not one of them has to do with me.

So the next time you smile and someone doesn’t smile back, try not to take it personally and just keep smiling ; )

Appreciating The Inconveniences………..

Did you ever hear the story about the man who was late to work one morning because he had a blister on his heel that was so bad, that he had to stop at a store to get a band-aid?  That blister not only made him late to work, but it saved his life.  His office was in the World Trade Center and he should’ve been in the towers that morning of September 11, but because of his blister, he was instead at a local pharmacy purchasing band-aids.

I tried explaining this to my 6-year-old last week when we were on our way to my sister’s house, which is by the way, a haven for all of us.  Arianna had waited a full week to see her cousins and was soooooo excited that we were finally in route that Sunday morning, until, I realized, that I forgot the cheese and crackers that I was supposed to bring.  We were already half way there before it hit me and I had to turn around to go back for it.

Frustrated and crying in the back seat that our normal 20 minute ride would now become a 40 minute ride, she lashed out on me for forgetting what I should’ve remembered to pack in the first place.  My response, and I have to stress that I am not a religious person, was that it was God’s way of saving us from an accident.  If I didn’t think that way, then I too would’ve been frustrated and crying right along with her.   I then shared the September 11th band-aid story with her.

That’s kind of always how I’ve thought though.  But why do we tend to assume the worst?  Why can’t we just believe that everything happens for a reason?  Why can’t the slow person you are stuck behind on a highway during rush hour  be your guardian angel saving you from a tragedy?   Instead of getting angry, why not acknowledge that if they weren’t in front of you, that you would be going faster than you should be and end up somewhere that you shouldn’t?

I believe that my sweater which snags on the screen door on my way out and holds me up an extra 5 seconds is what saves my life from the accident that JUST happened as I pass it on the highway on my way to work that day.

If only people could smile and thank the 80-year-old in front of them who’s driving too slow instead of honking and passing them with their middle finger up in the air while spewing out profanities.

If only they could have patience and empathy for the 16-year-old behind the cash register who is doing things wrong because it’s their first day instead of scoffing and scowling because they need to be somewhere else……..

Life is too short to be wasted on frustration and feeling inconvenienced.  So the next time you’re in route somewhere, and  realize you forgot that special something at home…….turn around and be thankful for the inconvenience.  You just never know when it may save your life.