ROAD OF LIFE SERIES: #2 Where are the Smiles? (20220516)

Your assignment:

  • Walk down the street and see the other walkers.
  • Watch those running.
  • Observe car and truck drivers.
  • Snatch a peek at a bicyclist as they zip by you.
  • Scrutinize people getting into shape (in any exercise regime).
  • View those at work.

Discovery: Too many serious people and not enough smiling going on in life.

I recently “ran” (aka walk-ran) a 5K race. I was in the back half of the runners since roadrunner genes are not plentiful in my DNA.

I started off like everyone else. “Bang!” went the starting gun, and we all picked up our first foot of the race and set it down, only to repeat it for the other side. Taking my sights from the feet in front of me and looking up, I began to notice those around me. We had all volunteered for this race, paid our fee, got the T-shirt and runners numbers. We signed up for many reasons but everyone’s “Why?” was different.

We had woken up early, strapped on our running shoes and clothes, checked the weather, registered, got tagged, and stepped up to the starting line (or way, way, way in the back like me). Most of us probably felt a jolt of anticipation as the starting gun was fired, and then it was time to go.

So, we ran or walked. And ran or walked some more.

I was filled with respect by the breadth of participant ages. I was awed at the finish time of the first place winner and wished I could have caught the same tail wind to shorten my time just a wee bit.

BUT…out of over 350 runners, maybe 10 ran with smiles. Some had stoic countenances, others looked like I probably looked…. exhausted. It was the rare individual who ran with any external sign of joy.

In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell states “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.”

Perhaps the joy was within all those 5K runners and just did not reach their face.

I know when the moment came and I realized no one was smiling, I decided to smile. I decided to toss a “dad joke” out to the volunteers as we trudged by them. I tried to remember to say a “Thank You” to the police who were ensuring the safety of the event, and to those who were giving us a cup of water as we “zipped” by them.

Did I remember to smile as I crossed the finish line? I will let you ponder that and perhaps ask you to consider the last time you smiled while waiting in line, sitting at a stoplight, walking down the street, working with a colleague, and so on. I can get so caught up in what I think I need to be doing next, that I forget…to smile…to feel joy in the moment and share it with others.

So, find your smile. Share it and you will be surprised and uplifted by receiving an answering smile from most of the people you meet.

I hope you have a day full of smiles!