"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Monday, December 23, 2013

What Makes You Smile?

This time of year it is easy to smile.
And sometimes to weep.
The sights, sounds, aromas and feel of Christmas stimulate our emotions as little else can.
The line between joys and sorrows,
past and present blurs.

Yesterday was a day of smiles for me.
It began with the happiness of my Christmas tree all lit up and decorated early in the morning.
It can coax a smile from me on my gloomiest day. 
Those sentimental ornaments, some from 60 years ago, sparkle and glow.

Heading out to church, another grin at my silly little car with her candy cane "horns" and nose.
She feels a bit foolish but I remind her how the decorations help me find her easily in any parking lot, no matter how crowded with shoppers.
(The poor candy canes are tilted back as if hanging on for dear life.  Directions say to never drive over 40 mph with them, but most of my roadways 
are posted at 75 or 80 mph.
Thus the backward angle!)

The afternoon guaranteed an hour of smiles.
Standing outside of Walmart, I rang that bell 
as I do every year about this time.
Wearing my Santa hat and the "doing the most good" Salvation Army apron,  I rang--and smiled.
It's an amazing time to not just "people watch", 
but "people see".
I'm not the one with the shopping list in hand.
I find I can focus on each person, young or old, that rushes into the store.  Most walk briskly, intentionally.  Some limp painfully.  I notice hair styles, clothes, shoes and facial expressions.  
Some folks appear worried, some sad, some excited and some preoccupied. 
Some adults hardly look up, but the children--ah, the children!  Brightness shines in their eyes as they skip along.
I smile.  At each one.  Genuinely.
And wish them, "Merry Christmas!"
The best part is when my presence (and noisy bell)
draws someone out of their thoughts and they toss back a smile in my direction.  Sparks of brightness like electrical charges in the dry air.

So, the next time you pass one of those bell ringers at the entrance to a store, look up and meet the eyes of the source of that clanging.
Whether you drop a coin in the bucket or not,
leave a smile or greeting behind.  
That smile also "does the most good" to the ringer
and others around you.
"Thank you and Merry Christmas!"

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