Understanding in a Smile

Tara - Beavercreek, Ohio
Entered on September 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: pleasure
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I believe in a smile. Not the mask worn by those ashamed, but the brilliant gleam of parted lips, worn by the common figure, for a smile has become uncommon. And in a time of war a smile is what can bring us all together.

My mother used to repeat the same line: “I’ve never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful.” Growing up I never understood its full intent, but lately I have seen the wisdom of her words. I have witnessed a smile change the outcome of an argument, and a grin displayed in times of hopeless despair. I have often noticed that a smile can easily have been the reason for a perfect day, and the final effort to stop a friend’s tears. There is magic in a smile, a magic that should be shared.

I have not always thought this way, I used to stare at the ground and ignore any passerby. I would pretend to be amused in whatever I was doing at the time, only to avoid looking into their faces. Perhaps I feared what they might think of me. But it happened one day that I came to look up, and into the eyes of those that passed, and in them I saw myself. I saw the same fear, and the same hopes and dreams. So it came to be that I found the courage to smile at all of these strangers in the hopes that they would not judge me…they never did. In my smile was a question: Do you trust me enough to smile back? Some did, some didn’t. But I found an unexpected eagerness in these people to respond with the same grin that I gave them, and I knew that I made them a fraction happier and their day a little easier.

It has been a simple smile that has taught me so much. A shy smile given from a girl hidden behind her mother’s skirt has taught me humility. A smile given through heavy laughter teaches humor, and a smile suppresses from a pair of the bluest eyes has taught me to love. In smiling we learn to accept, to understand those that pass us by, and even though we do not know them, we learn to hope that they will live their lives peacefully.

Perfection can be found in a smile, and the parting of lips from ear to ear resembles the most joyous of characteristics. To a child, fear is banished with a mother’s smile. To an elderly man, loneliness can never lie within a beaming face. And to the worrying mother, a grin overcomes all hastiness to accuse.

Yes, I have witnessed the greatest of changes in a smile: the effort to be more kind, the need to tell another story, and the desperation to smile in return.