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A Wave and a Smile

Posted in: Blog by amy on September 6, 2013

Sometimes the lessons that we receive throughout our days are obvious and direct. Other times, we receive subtle hints like a quiet whisper or the realization that we are a part of a cyclical pattern of events that lead us to a perfect thought. Today, I experienced the latter — that beautiful, subtle series of moments that resulted in my awareness of the power of kindness.

My day didn’t get off to a great start: I awoke with a headache and, as a result, found myself to have a shorter fuse than usual with my children. But, I hugged them tightly and tried to get back on track. I rushed to my physical therapy appointment for an injured shoulder, and while I was there, my therapist shared an interesting idea with me. He told me that he decided that he is going to wave to everyone he passes as he drives through our town of Glencoe. I laughed as he said it, because I pictured the rushed drivers who would think he was crazy. I envisioned people feeling surprised or confused and wondering, “Do I know this person?” He, on the other hand, simply wants to bring more friendliness into the neighborhood and decided it was just something he was going to do. “Why not?” he asked.

It’s a great idea that made me ask myself: Why not surprise someone with friendliness? We are all so tuned out from one another. So, why not raise a hand, share a kind gesture, meet someone’s glance with a wave and a smile? It only took me 10 seconds to get over the oddness of the idea and to realize its potential. A simple act of kindness like that could carry so much weight. It could brighten someone’s day … it could make someone slow down and be more present … it could perpetuate a smile.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  – Mark Twain

After I left therapy and ran around doing some errands, I found myself getting irritated again. It was just one of those days wherein I was feeling headachy, overwhelmed and tired. It’s an unnatural state for me to be in as happiness and peacefulness are more of my home-base traits. At any rate, I just didn’t feel like myself. I got the groceries I needed and then pulled up for the bags to be loaded. When I rolled down my window and asked for the bags to be placed in the back, the man asked me how I was doing. I said I was fine and quickly asked how he was. He maintained eye contact with me for a second and offered such a genuine smile and then asked again, “Are you having a nice day?” Now, this may sound odd, but that brief moment — that five-second interaction in which a relative stranger seemed to actually care and seemed to actually understand that I was in a mood — brought tears to my eyes.

I drove away thinking about the power of strangers … the power of kindness … the power of understanding … the power of a smile. I was just a little crabby, and someone’s apparent caring had the power to alter my mood.

Now, what if someone was really down? What if someone was residing in a very dark place? Could a smile from a stranger make a big difference? Could a wave from an unknown neighbor truly have a positive impact on one’s day? Obviously, the answer is yes. The Universe must have really wanted to shout this reality at me. My physical therapist brought up the concept, and then an hour later I experienced the beauty of that idea … the power of a friendly wave or a caring smile.

I love when things come together like that. And, I love that I can share this with you, because I know that you will smile more readily. I know that you will wave at a passerby. I know that you will absorb the uplifting affect of another’s energy when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. We have a choice to be happy. We have the power to make others happy. Use it. Absorb it. Embrace it. Share it. Love it. KNOW IT.

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6 Responses to “A Wave and a Smile”

  1. Bob Moylan says:

    Very touching Blog post. I loved the sincerity, genuineness, and thoughtfulness that you put into such a routine day. As you clearly articulate, kindness starts from within and is contagious. Keep up the excellent writing. Sincerely,Bob Moylan,LCPC

  2. amy says:

    Thank you for your very “kind” words.

  3. Kathy says:

    I love your reminder of the power of positive thinking, kindness, and common courtesy. Beautifully and touchingly written as usual!

  4. amy says:

    Thanks, Kathy — The fact that you shared your thoughts is as if you gave me an encouraging smile and wave. 🙂
    I appreciate it.

  5. Love this blog post Amy! I agree 100%

  6. Great post Amy! The power of a smile and random kindness is completely underrated for both the giver and the receiver! 🙂

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