The Ability to Smile

I had the most wonderful run-in with my uncle today. My uncle is someone who I've always loved having around. I remember the day I found out that he was leaving for the marine corp. I was so upset with him because I didn't want him to leave me here. I was very young then and now that I am older I realized why I enjoy his presence so much. He has a very caring, kind smile. He knows how to talk to people. He reminds me of my grandpa, who I miss greatly.

Anyways every time I have a run-in with my uncle I leave feeling as though our thoughts could save the world from distress. Tonight's conversation ended up on Africa. A place I would LOVE to visit. Here is what I took from what was said.

Happiness is at our finger tips. Happiness is rare.

As a photographer I see things in frames. When I said this to my uncle he responded with Jack Johnson lyrics:
"Slow down everyone
You're moving too fast
Frames can't catch you when
You're moving like that"

He said something that reminded me that people don't slow down to be happy. Which made me think: Look at how fast people on Wall street move. Walk downtown Chicago with all the business men and women. Hardly anyone smiles, Hardly anyone says hello. What kind of World do we live in where people can't look in others eyes?

I told my uncle a story that I tell everyone. I lived in St Thomas V.I. It was one of the biggest growing experiences I've ever had. One thing I learned while living there was the respect of looking at people and acknowledging their existence. This is done every morning, afternoon, and night by simply saying "good-morning, good-afternoon, and good-night" How easy is that!? At Christmas time I was flying home and stopped in Georgia. After walking around the airport with a friend for awhile I said good-bye and we parted ways. As I walked towards my next gate and past a woman who looked quite tired (it was 10 am) I smiled at her and said "good-morning!" She looked at me VERY sideways and continued walking. I was horrified that I was back in a place where people couldn't say good-morning.

I then told my uncle this: Look at the picture of people you see in Africa. Look at their smiles and eyes. They look truly happy yet live in a land where they have NOTHING compared to what we have here in the US. Clearly money can't buy happiness.

For my 20th birthday my uncle handed me a plain white envelope. Inside was white printer paper with black permanent marker words that read : "For me, Happiness is everything and since money can't buy happiness, money is nothing. You said you wanted nothing for your birthday and you get what you want."

I peered inside the envelope and saw a wad of cash. Lesson learned. ALWAYS ask for nothing. HA! Kidding. A year later I still know the lesson was... I can find happiness with out having stuff. If I surround myself with thinking people, beauty, goodness, truth, and all that I believe I can always find happiness.

And THAT is true happiness

And Happiness is what makes me smile.

Find your SMILE...and share it with someone you don't know.

Peace and Love


1 comment:

Dolores said...

One of the reasons we were so ready to leave Phx was it seemed to be a rat race-people working so hard so they could live in the right neighborhood in the right sized house and drive the right car (suv) and shop in the right stores. Blech. It was also true that it seemed nobody looked at each other or acknowledged one another. That was one of the weirdest things to re-learn-when we got here and I was out and about, I re-learned that I didn't have to walk at such a rushing pace, that I didn't have to look straight down to avoid the gaze of another human being, and that the world would still revolve if I didn't complete the menial tasks I had set about for myself during a day. Slowing down is an important lesson, one that we sometimes have to re-learn a few times in our lives. Acknowledging other people and addressing them is really great-it can make a difference in someone's day!