The Power Of A Smile

While in the grocery store the other day, I encountered a woman with six ears of corn in one hand struggling to open one of those little plastic bags with the other.  I stepped over, took the bag and held it open while she dropped the corn in. She said with a smile “I guess I did that backward”.  I  commented “they are hard enough to open with two hands, returned her smile, and moved on. 

I remember this why?  Not because of the act, but because of the smile.  It was apparently the most memorable thing that happened to me that day because it is the only thing I remember specifically.  And it was free.  I liken a smile to one of those buy one, get one free ads.  In most cases, one given receives one in return.  Talk about fair trade.

I have always liked to smile.  It is something that I can give that is simple, sincere, and conveys a message.  It transcends words and is hard to misconstrue.  It can be the bridge between two strangers.  It can be the act that changes an outcome.  It can be the thing that alters an attitude.  It is very versatile.  I have seen a smile dry tears, begin a friendship, trigger a relationship, and often, just bring comfort.

While visiting the nursing home each week, I am surrounded by many residents that have become my friends over time.  We talk, laugh, and yes, sometimes just smile.  I also confront many residents that are in the throws of dementia.  What do you say to those that no longer are able to embrace reality or communicate coherently?  Well, if all else fails, try a smile.  Frequently overlooked or mentally written off as unreachable, I have often offered a smile and received one in return.  When the rest of their world is steeped in memories, their lives clouded in confusion, I find it heartening that they instinctively recognize and welcome a smile.

Such a little thing. Such a powerful thing. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald put it best when he said:

It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”



About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Compassion, Friendship, Gifts, Insight, Life, Love, Perspective, Random Thoughts, Reflection, Relationships and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Power Of A Smile

  1. While I agree with you – I find my smile gets me into trouble sometimes. Like, the amount of times I’m asked to answer “Just a few” questions, or for spare change (I’m happy to give if I have extra, but one day the same person asked me 3 times. I kid you not) or mistaken for an employee of wherever I’m shopping. None of these thing will ever stop my from offering a friendly smile but it is funny to think about.


  2. scifihammy says:

    What a nice encounter. 🙂
    Yes, a smile is free to give and may make someone’s day. I always smile too. 😀


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