Imagine having a day where your mind is filled with preoccupation, maybe even disappointment and failure. Maybe this is everyday. It’s all about you. The boils on the butts of humanity are popping and there's nothing you can do to prevent it. You’re sweating and struggling to form a mold that just won’t hold. You’ve lost the meaning of what’s important, at least for today. You’re wrapped up in yourself, questioning what you can’t control and ignoring the things you can.
It was one of those days for me. My partner in crime, Wendy, and I were coming out of the Starbucks in Granby. With coffee in hand, I was venting about the the insincerity of people, the cruelty of children and the lack of discipline of parents with rugrats in public places.
A few days earlier I had witnessed a mother cave to her 5-year-old in a local Target. Instead of standing her ground and saying, “No” or letting her child have the fit, she inconvenienced an entire line of customers to dig through four bags of items, giving the entitled demon-child her much desired gummy bear vitamins (which she threw with precision at diners of the food court upon exiting).
As we approached my car, a handwritten note, ripped from a notebook, flapped on the windshield. It wasn’t an advertisement, a request for a donation or a nasty-gram notifying me (in print) of my intrusive parking job. The note was simple, beautiful, unexpected.
“Smile, you deserve it!”
We sat in the car silent, almost a pregnant pause. I was wrapped up in my own little world of complaining, testifying to others inadequacies. And why not? It’s easy for us to give in to such gibberish and negativity. It seems to easily roll off the tongue, like watching a foreign film with extra large subtitles or eating a greasy cheeseburger...sinful to the arteries but delightful to the taste buds. It takes work to remind ourselves of what’s important. Yet, when a simple gesture yanks us into reality, it trips our feet and throws our faces onto the dirt roads of simplicity. What’s even more humbling is being reminded of this fact by a complete stranger.
This is a hard time for all of us. Pick your mind poison: War in the Middle East, the growing holiday list, politicians playing playground politics, your house is a mess, kids having trouble in school, unemployment, feeling unappreciated, an unresolved conflict with a friend, the fiscal cliff, health care or maybe the seasonal reminders of the past. The mind is a whirlpool of thought.
Someone took a few moments to write down four words, place it on a car, and remind another human being to smile, because they deserve it. So, I’m going to pay it forward and remind you. No matter what is going on in your life, no matter what adversity, conflict, loss, trouble, addiction or preoccupation you may be experiencing. Smile, because you most certainly deserve it!