A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown
There’s something almost magical about watching a face transform, moving from straight lines to curves. Smiles do more than brighten the space around them. They tell stories. They are reminders. They are roadmaps.
When I smile, things go right. Literally. My nose goes just a little crooked and my mouth goes just a little wonky. That’s because in fourth grade, while playing in the backyard of a friend down the street, his little sister did her best Babe Ruth, using a golf club like a baseball bat. I was standing behind her. I remember the impact, remember the pain, remember wondering if I would ever be able to smile again. For years, the left side of my face just didn’t move well. I adopted a quirky little straight-ish grin to hide the awkward angle. I covered my mouth or looked away when I laughed so people couldn’t see the tilt.
I carried that one painful moment like a banner for so many years, allowing it to rob me of a million more moments. I thought my imperfection would rob others of their moments – that a smile needed to be perfect to pass on.
But I’ve learned that that’s simply impossible. Everybody is beautiful when they wear a smile – even crooked, wonky ones. In fact, the smiles that are the most striking are those worn by people who have found – or perhaps are still finding – joy in the imperfection. They are the ones who aren’t afraid to let the world see the laugh lines and crow’s feet, the teeth that aren’t quiet straight or pearly white, or the curve that moves just a little more to one side than the other. Those smiles have taught me to celebrate my smile. When those smiles are shared with someone, listen closely. You’ll hear the gentle whisper.
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even that smile. Joy makes everything beautiful.”
Give a perfectly imperfect smile to someone today. Receive theirs. Hear the whisper. You are beautiful.