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Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Power of a Smile

When I wrote my last blog, "World Noise" I was truly in a very dark place. I rarely allow world events to grind me down to that level, but there I was, thoroughly depressed. There is much to be depressed about, but such things are beyond my control. I have to remember the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That part about having the wisdom is really important, but when you see so much human suffering it is emotive, and as a simple human being, I just can't seem to be unaffected.

Ever since  I arrived here in Spain we have had images of Africans washing up on the shores, having drowned at sea in their quest for a better life. In many cases they were simply trying to remain alive as they fled despots who would have killed them on the spot. They were the trickle before the flood. All that they were trying to do was to get to the place in which I had arrived in the comfort of an airplane.

So, yes, there is a world of uncomfortable noise that surrounds you and me, and I accept that from time to time it will get to me. My task was to pull myself up and shake it off. The day after I wrote the blog, I was driving down my estate road when I saw coming the other way a man on a pedal cycle. I have been seeing this man for the past eleven years. I don't know his name, but he always reminds me of Robin Williams, and he always smiles a Robin-esque smile. I always feel good after I see him.

In my native Bermuda we have Johnny Barnes, a man who for decades has greeted people on their way to work with a huge smile and a "I love you!" It is impossible to arrive at work in a bad mood after that.

During the week I have deliberately tuned out the negative, allowing space for only positive sound bytes. I have found there are many which lifted me and kept my spirits high. The owner of a dog that constantly barked, day and night, said, "Don't listen to him!" Well, I have turned the sound down on the negative, and up on the positive.

Today, I feel good! 

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael