Friday, October 26, 2012

Spread Sunshine

27 Days to a Happy Mom - Day 23

In high school, we called it "spreading Kool-Aid."  That just made it sound more fun.  But it's one of the easiest ways to help other people:  you just smile.

A long, long time (it seems like half of forever) ago my first husband was in the hospital for surgery in his head.  It was when we found out that he had brain cancer.  Not a happy time.  At all.  It was the hardest thing I had gone through.  Every day brought a challenge just to get out of bed and start moving again.

In profound discouragement, I decided (through no apparent brightness on my own part) that I would fake it.  It was the only way I could slog through the stiff molasses of my worry.  As I took the first step into the hospital every morning, I would paste an incredibly fake smile on my fretful face.  I would smile and nod to the nurses, not daring to actually speak lest my resolve would be ruined.

Every day, for weeks, I pretended to be cheerful.  And I thought it did help me to get through some very painful and difficult times.  It wasn't until much later that my beloved father-in-law told me that he depended on my smiling face to make it through.  He said he could not bear the pain of seeing his son in the hospital bed - until I walked in the room and spread my (fake) sunshine.  I was astonished.  I thought everyone could see that my smile was plastic, my happiness less than genuine.

It didn't matter to him.  He saw the smile, and his heart was comforted.  My pretenses helped us both.  And I am forever grateful for the inspiration I had to try a smile.

Just for today... smile at someone.  Then do it again.  See how many people you can smile at today!

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