Here’s to Those Who Smile

Here’s to the people who smile.
To those who are genetically predisposed to cancer, whose mindless, ravenous cells might already be multiplying through the people’s bodies causing discomfort and feelings that there is something not quite right but they don’t know what it is. Instead of complaining of not feeling good, they put on a smile and make someone else’s day brighter.
To those with clinical depression for whom each day is a battle against negative thoughts and bad memories from years ago which pop up for no particularly reason except to ruin a day. Instead of dwelling on the heavy malaise in their minds, they put on a smile and make everyone else’s day lighter.
To those who find themselves in an economic hole they didn’t dig them but nevertheless must climb out of by themselves. Instead of bemoaning their lack of money, they put on a smile because they have plenty of the joys of life that money cannot buy.
I have a Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep disorder which means I never go into the deepest levels of restorative sleep. Yes, I take pills for that, but even they cannot handle an overload of fatigue. In the last few months I was blessed with lots of activities which made me happy but also depleted my reserve of energy to the point my nightmares became more frightening and more exhausting.
Last night I was locked in a mortal confrontation with a nameless, faceless intruder who, I assumed, wanted to kill me. I caught hold of his hairy forearm and believed that as long as I held on to it he could not harm me. Luckily I awoke and found no assailant. I had my hands around my five-pound, 15-year-old Chihuahua who suffers from advanced arthritis.
At first I was afraid I had hurt her in some way. She went to the edge of the bed and wanted down to do her business on a doggy pad. When she was finished she came back, I picked her up and she snuggled next to me and went back to sleep. I had not hurt her. I had not scared her. I had not done myself any good with the nightmare, but when morning came I dragged myself out of bed.
I was still alive and had things to do. I had not killed my dog for which I am grateful. And when I run my errands later today I shall smile. Tonight I will probably have to endure another bad dream. If I am careful to rest properly the dreams will abate and I will have the energy to do happy things again soon.
So when you see someone smiling for no apparent reason, don’t think them a simpleton who doesn’t know what a cockeyed world we live. They know. Don’t judge them insincere and dismiss the smile as fake. A fake smile is worth a thousand sincere scowls.
You don’t know what they struggle with every day to survive and still manage a smile because they know that’s what the world needs to see.
So here’s to the people who smile. We need more of them right now.

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