One thing that has truly amazed me here is how easy it is to get people to smile. In the states I have a little game I like to play. I smile at people in stores or walking down the street, or even people I know, and try to see how many people will smile back. This game is really hard to play in America. Hardly anyone ever smiles back, and it can be discouraging.
When I came here, I didn’t play the game intentionally, at first. I play it so much at home that it has become a habit. What made me remember the game was when people would smile at me as we drove down the street. I realized that whenever I smiled while looking out the car window, everyone who caught my eye would smile back. If I wasn’t smiling, people would just stare blankly (and blank stares can be scary, haunting, annoying…it depends on who is staring). When I did smile though, it was so lovely. Little children would smile and wave and the tired faces of old women would light up.
And everyone would smile. I found it so incredible. Here, where little babies run around naked and teenagers look like they are seven because of malnutrition; here, where the birth rate is high, the literacy rate is low, and half the population lives under the poverty line ; here, in all the filth because of a great lack of clean water; here, people smile. Yet in America, where people have running water, electricity, food, BMW’s, blackberries, Wii’s, iPods, iphones, ipads, and a host of other material things, I rarely see a smile.
I have so much to be thankful for, yet I complain or think that I don’t have enough while these people smile through their trials. It is my prayer today that Jesus will help me not take for granted the blessings He has given me, and that He will show me how I can share Him and His blessings with others, even through a smile. J