The value of a smile

I was at Home Depot this morning, walking to the restroom.  Ahead of me, about halfway down the lighting aisle, with lamps hanging overhead, was an older lady with short silvery hair, pushing her cart.  Our eyes met; she gave a welcoming smile.  I smiled back.  We passed each other, and I continued on my way, a good feeling in my chest. 

Then it occurred to me: neither one of us was wearing a mask.  I wanted to go back to her and thank her for also not wearing a mask, for not communicating publicly fear of a virus.  I didn’t go back.

I realized that if we had both been wearing masks, that tiny interchange would not have occurred.  Wow, I thought, how amazing it is that a simple, welcoming smile from a stranger can life my spirits and add to my day.  And, how much simple, yet profound, communication do we lose by covering half of our faces.

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