Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Smile Day

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~Phyllis Diller

A friend of mine will often say "Smile" to me to end an argument of some sort. Well, actually to shut me up on a subject when I am screaming with rage on the inside, but politely saying "Whatever" to his face (whatever is the new f*&K you a?%hole.) Of course, I tend to do anything but smile, like maybe scream in the shower instead or make the kids clean their rooms NOW because I am sick of the 5 foot deep river of clothing cluttering the landscape! Honestly, do they really believe kicking the clothes under the bed, shoving the dirty dishes in their dressers and throwing 3 comforters on top of their 3 week old dirty sheets is cleaning? Whatever happened to just shoving it in the closet?

So telling me smile has always just irritated me to no end because its more like an insult from your 3rd grade teacher than a help. So, I always tended to not do it when asked and get myself more pissed off, adding scowling and screaming to the list instead of just calming down. He told this again to me recently, and I paused for a minute to consider the act. Smile. Hmm, I do tend to take it for granted. Pay attention to this I thought and think. Pay attention.

I started performing creative exercises from a book called the "Artist's Way." In the beginning it talks about slowing down and paying attention, noticing the details. Giving thanks to our creator for the details. Hmm, smile is certainly one of them, just as walk, breath and type are things to notice. Notice the movements. Give thanks.

Strange things happen to our bodies everyday and until they do, we tend not to notice the details and give thanks. My next door neighbor, Mr. Thruway, has an inherited foot disease that rots the veins in the feet. Eventually circulation stops. Most of his family has died of this. He got to the point last winter when he wasn't walking. But fortunately for him, they have many cool new vein surgeries. He had one on his feet and within days was walking again. For months, he couldn't do the lawn work, trim the hedges, wash his truck, ride a bike. Now I see him out there doing this, and he has the biggest grin you ever saw on his face. He is so grateful to walk again.

A cousin of my husband woke up one day with hands the size of melons. Carpal tunnel. She has had surgery which helped but did not cure the hand. She still has lots of trouble and is disabled now. The simplest thing like holding a book to read is hard. How many times do we even think to give thanks for our hands? I love to read, and can't imagine getting pain from holding a book.

I've taken over the cooking chores since I've been home, cooking on a daily basis. Before, it was mainly on weekends. I got to the point I was real tired of it again. What had brought me joy, wasn't anymore. Just a boring daily task now that I wanted out of. No matter that it brought nourishment to my family. No amount of joy at my cooking and baking seemed enough. I had taken cooking for granted and was mad I had to do it.

But a month or so ago I gave thanks that I could cook and started being grateful when I did. Gave thanks for the simple tasks like running to the car, driving to the store, buying food and then cooking it. I even play music and sing while I do it now.

Why the change? A friend from the gym, Mrs. Sunshine, came down one day with a weird disease from a virus called guillain barre syndrome. It attacks the nerves in the body and she suddenly could hardly walk, or move or eat. Everyday tasks were horrendous. Terrible pain racked her body and awful headaches. She could not do much at first, and things like caring for the family and cooking were impossible. Her face has been immobile and she can't smile.

I've cooked her some meals to help them out. Not much really since I was cooking already. But I gave thanks and was happy that I could. I smiled for her and hoped it helped her and her family in some small way.

Don't take today for granted. Notice the details. Help someone you know smile instead of fight. Appreciate the hands, the feet and the wonderful daily chores we can do with cheer like cooking.

And for my friend Mrs. Sunshine, let's all make tomorrow Smile Day, and smile for her. I know her smile is 1 million watts bright on the inside because she is well on the way to healing. Thank God for that. Give thanks to God tomorrow by giving someone else your smile, its contagious.

1 comment:

Shari Schmidt said...

This is the philosophy I try to live by. I think we get too caught up in what is not important. By the time we realize what our priorities should be, it is often too late to fix things.