Sunday, January 11, 2009

Starting Over with a Smile

Sometimes life requires us to start over, from the ground up, as if our lives were emerging from a tidal wave. That's how I felt when I visited Costco a few months ago to purchase a mattress for a bedroom I inherited from my oldest daughter, who decided to stay in her college digs year round.

I should have been happy to have my own room back, but instead I felt somehow deserted. As I wheeled my Sealy Posturepedic out to stuff into the back of my trusty little SUV, I noticed a wiry red-haired man smoking a cigarette next to his car. Someone had parked approximately one inch away and he could not get into the driver's seat. Even if he had climbed through the passenger side, it appeared that there was no way to clear the side mirrors of either car to pull out. After all I'd been through, I thought my first reaction would be to yell, cry, or key the other car! This man left such an impression on me by silently waiting for the vehicle's owner to return. I stayed around to watch the impending explosion of expletives. When the other gentleman finally came to carefully move his car without scraping the little man's compact, the latter calmly breathed a sigh of relief, got in the driver's seat and smiled! I could not believe my eyes.

Though I usually try to display patience, this situation would have set anyone off. I said a "thank you" in my heart to this person for showing me how to slow down (without the nicotine, of course), and just smile--things always work out in the end. I couldn't muster the courage to openly praise this stranger for his service by example, but in a show of support I gave him my own smile and a little wave. Often that's all we can do, but it's those simple smiles that can get us through the day when patience runs thin. Try a smile today :)

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