by: Joe Talhelm

I have just returned from the General Assembly of the International Church of the Nazarene (thanks to the wonderful Ebenezer Church). I was able to meet many people from numerous nations. Some were from Africa, others were from Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Eurasia, Mexico, Central America, South America, and of course North America. There many different languages and dialects to deal with. Clothing, by and large, was pretty much the same with a few differences. Though there were many different people there (we are talking way over 40,000 people) I noticed one thing about each individual that was common in all. It was their smile. I may not have understood the different languages or lifestyles, I may not have understood the different cultures or traditions, but I did understand their smiles.

Often as I was going from one meeting to another I would walk past an individual, who was from another country, and just nod and smile and they, in turn, would do the same. We may not have said a word, but we spoke volumes with just a smile. Communication without words. A free gift exchanged without any other interaction. Human Relations 101 in action.

Something else I noticed was that everyone I smiled at, gave that same gift back to me. No one told them they had too, it just happened. Funny, when someone smiled at me, I re-acted with a returning smile. I couldn't help it, it just happened.

The smile is free to give and receive. Little effort is needed and yet it brightens up another's day. With just a few muscles used in smiling, we can lighten a dark day for another person.

I once read a sign that said, "When you see someone without a smile, give them yours." A nice gift for the world, don't you think? So, the next person you see, why not try brightening up their day. Smile!