A Natural Smile


A smile sits well upon her face, naturally and unforced. Rarely without it, she is a happy and optimistic person – unique in a world full of unhappiness and cynics. A natural smile is such a powerful force of good, optimism, and happiness.

A rare find indeed.

Some people are eternally happy, drawing the rest of us towards them. Like moths gathering around a flickering flame to share its warmth, we gather around them, longing to somehow share in their happiness — if not but for a moment. They are impossible to resist. They help us forget our own troubles, no matter how insurmountable we think they are.

Many years ago, I was a person overwhelmed with problems. A person lost without a rudder in a sea of misery and self-pity. My world had been turned upside down, and its weight was crushing. Always believing that when you are knocked down you get back up, I’d tried but couldn’t. Everywhere I turned there was just no way out of the darkness. Then something wonderful happened.

I was drawn to the light of a lady with a natural smile.

A lifetime ago, with hopes of a happy life all but gone, I took a chance and did something I’d never done (or even thought about) before. I went to a restaurant to meet a lady for a blind date. As she walked over, I knew this date was going to be different. She had a natural smile. Throughout the dinner, joy and happiness radiated from her. By the end of dinner, I’d forgotten how lonely and lost I was.

“They” say blind dates never work out. “They” also say there’s no such thing as love at first sight. “They” are wrong.

Next week, that lady and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary, and I’m so fortunate to have her in my life. I’ve never met anyone so loving and giving of herself. Through the most trying of times, she has been the beacon of light showing the way through the darkness of adversity. It was she that comforted me when no one else could, picking me up at my lowest of low, assuring me that together we could get through anything.

She was right.

They say eyes are the windows into the soul, but I believe a natural smile is its doorway. The Wife has such a smile. The true beauty of a person is not just skin deep – not something that can be put on in the morning and removed at night. It’s always there, emanating from deep within. Whether it’s at work, in public or with the granddaughters, The Wife shares her eternal happiness, optimism, and yes, her natural smile with those around her daily. And all are better because she does.

I know I am.

What she gives freely I will never be able to repay, but I’ll spent the rest of my life trying. Happy anniversary, my love.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories weekly in The Citizen since 2001.]