Lesson Learned: A Smile. Yes, we are all aware of the definition of the word when it is used as a noun. “A pleased, kind, or amused facial expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.” We all know people with genuine, winning smiles that can light up a darkened room. These smiles are often transforming, uplifting, liberating and sometimes even contagious. Smiles can be very powerful.
I recently experienced “the power of a smile” when I visited Southampton Estates. There, on a cold and gloomy morning, I encountered two smiles that truly inspired me. The first occurred when the security guard, Mr. M., stationed in the guard house at the entrance of the community, flashed a huge smile when he welcomed me back to the campus. There was a natural enthusiasm in his voice and laughter in his eyes as he waved me past the raised gate, as though he was welcoming home his very best friend. I felt my own mood, which mirrored the weather, change immediately. This brief encounter with Mr. M. left me feeling unexpectedly happy and upbeat. What a gift, I thought!
The second “power of a smile” occurred within the community when I met my prospective client, Betty S., a charming and gracious lady. With a broad and genuine smile, she eagerly volunteered that she was 102 years old. I was mesmerized by Betty’s grace, composure, wit and most of all, her radiant smile. She glowed as she spoke about her family and her faith, enthusiastically pointing to the numerous family portraits and religious artwork that decorated the walls of her apartment. I felt blessed to share that short period of time with her.
As I left the community, I reflected on the wonderful gift that had been given to me – first by Mr. M. and then by Betty. The smiles they easily shared were simple, yet so very powerful. The lesson I learned was when you receive a smile, share it. This gift can truly make all the difference in the world to someone else. It did for me.