It's been said that a smile is the lighting system of the face, the cooling system of the head and the heating system of the heart. But a smile is also a powerful weapon against toxic attitudes of all kinds.
Lisa Gurnsey, of Portland, Oregon, wrote to me about a man whose smile quite literally changed her life: "I was having a horrible day -- hating my job, tired of the weather, tired of trying to keep up on bills, and just completely stressed out. I stopped at the post office in the morning and, as I was entering, an older business man commented to me that it was going to be a good day and life shouldn't be as bad as I make it look. I glared at him and simply said, 'I wish it was Friday.'
"I felt better about my day when I left the post office...that man's smile and comment, although irritating at first, made me think.
"The second time I ran into the man I went out of my way to say 'Happy Friday' to him and to smile. I saw him a few more times and always he was cheery and 'made my day.'
"I looked for him around Christmastime to give him a card and explain how his kind words and smile that very first day made me regroup my thinking and realize I didn't have it so bad. But I have not seen him at the post office since then. I look every morning...I go at different times to see if I can catch him. Maybe he retired, maybe he is ill. I think to myself, 'I wish I had thanked him for being a kind person.' I can honestly say this man changed my life. I will work to spread that same feeling to those I see in need of a smile."
We can never know the impact a simple smile has on another. Smiling is one of the easiest things we can do. Is there a simpler, more effortless way to give everyone you meet a moment of joy, even a sense of worth?
Speaker Josh Hinds makes this suggestion: "Play the smiling game in your daily life. See how many people you can get to smile back at you. Keep score and tally the results at the end of each day."
That sounds like a game we can all play. The rules are simple. There are lots of winners. And who knows? You just might "make" someone's day -- even if that someone is you.