Monday, May 28, 2012


We stepped off the elevator and walked toward the revolving doors. The crowds in the hotel lobby were massive. Visitors were milling about in swim suits, towels and baseball caps. There was no denying it, summer had arrived. As we parted our way through the sea of people a man started to whistle. It wasn't a "Hot Chick" whistle, it was a "Come here, Fido" whistle. At first I kept walking, assuming the whistle was directed at one of the many kids (or maybe husbands) swarming around me. But the sound continued.
Finally, I turned around and came face to face with a small man wearing a massive grin. He was whistling in my direction, but not at me. He was whistling at Pippy, my companion who was dutifully trotting along side me, maneuvering the crowd with ease. The man immediately bent down, greeting Pippy on her level. He waved his arms about and played with her. They were, of course, fast friends.
The man expressed pure joy while playing with Pip. As for her part, Pippy had ears swaying and tongue hanging down in an expression of happiness. She was wearing her dog smile.
Watching those two meet and interact set off a little spark in me that hasn't stopped growing. I watched the joy spread across their faces and couldn't help but wear a smile, too. Their time spent together only lasted a short minute but the lesson they displayed has stuck with me much longer.
Pippy wore a smile. Her new friend wore a smile. They were glowing with enthusiasm for life. You couldn't look at the two of them without breaking into a grin.
I've witnessed Pippy in smiling action before. Even if she doesn't stop to play, she still sports a smile. She shows it off as we go on our daily walks or when I take her out to public places like the farmer's market or a cafe. People don't always stop and pet her (some people actually walk right by - I don't get those folks) but that doesn't stop her from giving them a million dollar smile. Her joyful attitude has nothing to do with the attention she receives or what is happening around her, it is simply who she is.
How often do I walk through life wearing a straight face or even a frown? It seems to be in our human nature to smile in response to something we find positive. But how often do we smile just because we can? How many people do you see who wear a down and out expression? They may not be having a bad day, per-se, but they wear a downcast face because, why? Just because it tends to fall that way?
But think about what you can do with a smile! Think about the room you can brighten and the lives you can touch simply by turning a frown upside down. What did the orphans in Annie say? You're never fully dressed without a smile.
They were onto something.
You can dress up in fancy clothes and pair it with the perfect accessories but that isn't what makes joy shine from within. A smile shines brighter than any piece of jewelry or sparkly top. Yet, it is the last thing we ever think about putting on - and far too often we miss it altogether.
Pippy is teaching me to put a smile on first. Put on the smile before you brush your teeth, make the bed, change tops or even reach for your glasses in the morning. Start off smiling.
The smile that you put on in the morning has the power to influence the entire day, from morning coffee to a goodnight prayer. When we smile even our tone of voice changes. People look at us differently, and occasionally they smile back. The world looks brighter and sweeter when you greet it with upturned lips. Don't wear the smile just because something good is happening, smile because you know that God is good and life is good, no matter what the days agenda or circumstances.
I decided to try out a Pippy way of approaching the world. I've started to smile more. I'm not smiling because my life is going perfectly or because I'm feeling like a million bucks. Actually, I am not feeling all too swell and I'd really like to change a few things in my life at this moment but that has nothing to do with what facial expression I'm wearing. I'm choosing to wear a smile. This smile is changing the way I see my circumstances and the way people are looking at me. They are smiling back. The imperfections in my life are looking more like bumps then they are boulders. This smile is changing the way I'm feeling inside and it is changing the way I'm seeing the world around me. It is shining a bright light in life.
And, most importantly, I'm spreading a little bit of joy. Because when you smile you can't keep happiness and gladness inside. You are pouring it out to the world around you.
I'm sure there will be days when I forget to wear my smile but thank goodness I'll have Pippy to remind me. She is always fully dressed with her million dollar smile.

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