Getting the mail is no longer the once exciting, anticipated event that it once was.  Not only has the fond memories of pen-pals and other communication all but disappeared but even our bills are delivered electronically.  I find the mundane task often leaves apathy after clearing out a box of advertisements and tossing the endless credit card solicitations in the trash.

Imagine my surprise when I encountered the following homemade flyer last week on the obligatory mail run, that added a little bit of brightness to the monotonous task of retrieving the mail.  

As I exited the mail hut and went back in my car I thought of the child who had taken time out of their day to create and post the sign……The child who wanted to spread a little hospitality into the lives of others and took the tender action in doing so.  What would one do to show appreciation to the unknown neighbor? A return of the smile would be the appropriate gesture so I quickly took the time to go back in and go rip a smile off even if I wasn’t sad.  Wouldn’t that be the equivalent of returning a smile to notice that someone had taken a smile?

This homemade flyer has prompted me to think and remember what such a simple expression can do for another person. Smiling is a talent and even though we all can do it, there are some that do it more frequently and with ease.  During the day do we remember to smile, greet with kindness or bring some other form of brightness to our neighbors?  Do we remember the powerful effects of such a simple thing and how it can build bridges and bring people closer together?  Do we acknowledge the efforts of others when we see a smile of friendliness or are ourselves the recipient of an act of goodwill?  We never know who may be sad and at what time they may need an extra little something in their comings and goings. A smile can decrease the distance of strangers and lighten the mood of most circumstance.

I realize that I can do better – To see those around me and let them know that I care.  This world needs more kindness and while a smile may be a simple thing,  it is a simple thing that can brighten a day, change a heart or even mend a fence. I don’t feel I have the natural talent but it’s an easy one to develop with practice.  If we all followed the example of my thoughtful neighbor who created this sign, a walking billboard of the posting so to speak, we would bring our neighbors, our community and the world closer together.

And when it’s returned, it may just be you that needed the smile.