My Smile Experiment
March 9, 2010
Mayo Clinic rebooked my appointment that they cancelled last week at the last minute, so I went by myself today. I decided when I woke up that today I would make eye contact with as many people as I could and just simply smile at them.
This is what I saw today at the Mayo Clinic, a blind man with his seeing eye dog getting into the elevator with me, I did smile but instead of eye contact I said “hello, how are you today?” As I waited in the beautifully decorated waiting room I looked around and saw so many sick people, everyone in their own world, I wondered what each person was there for. I over heard the lady sitting next to me telling her friend that this is the end, she does not have much time left, she is dying, my eyes filled with tears as I listened to her heart felt worry for her life, they called her name for chemo, and off she went. I looked into the eyes of a lady in a pink breast cancer baseball hat, her hair was gone just like mine, I smiled and she smiled back with a nod of her head, as if to say “I understand” and then they called my name, and off I went for my lab work, I smiled at the Liz who was my nurse today she smiled and said “how are you, and why are you walking so slow?” I explained to her about the neuropathy and she hugged me with a sincere strong hug, I teared up again. ( I do that a lot now) today because I know the people at Mayo Clinic are in my world they understand what it means, I don’t have to explain.
I had an hour and 40 minutes until my next appointment so I went to the Mayo Clinic cafeteria to grab some lunch. I watched a lady yell at the person working at the grill, she was upset with him because he forgot to give her a pickle, she looked at me and shrugged her shoulders wanting me to agree with her disgust, I just smiled and she looked away. As I walked to my seat I saw a man and woman sitting together, she was in a wheelchair and very crippled, she could not hold her head up, I smiled at him and he smiled back. I watched as many couples or friends discussed their medical issues over lunch, one couple I watched never talked or looked at each other.
In that room there was not one person who was my age or younger, I watched an older couple sharing lunch, he was careful to split the cheesecake right down the middle and give her 1/2 then he made sure not to start his lunch until he knew she was comfortable and happy, they laughed and enjoyed their time together. I watched Mayo Clinic volunteers walking around to each table asking if they could help take trays, or if anyone needed water, just then a man walked by who distracted me, he had a ponytail down the middle of his back, I wondered when mine would be that long again, and why his was… ha ha. I saw angry people, sad people, people with tears, some with hair some without.
My experiment today came to the conclusion that most people smiled at me no matter what their condition some even indulged in conversation with me. The ones who didn’t quickly looked away as if I had just injected them with some deadly desease. I’m not sure what makes people happy or sad, but I do know it’s curable because it’s a choice.
I decided today to be happy I was not the lady in the wheelchair who will never walk again, or the woman who will never hold her head up to see the beautiful blue sky, or the man who walks with a seeing eye dog because he is blind. Be grateful you can comb your hair everyday—even on a bad hair day, be glad you have hair, never take for granted your legs if you can walk or run with no pain you are lucky, if you can hold a baby in your arms or write to a missionary…you are blessed to have hands and arms that work. If you have a mouth you can smile, and maybe your smile will save the life of someone who is feeling depressed or lonely, thinking they have nothing to live for. Everyday we all make a choice when we wake up…am I going to be happy and serve someone else today, or will I waste the day doing insignificant things, being angry at things that in the eternal scheme of things really does not matter, at the end of the day can we say “I made a difference today?” I want to make a difference, be it even within the walls of my own home, don’t look back, look to tomorrow to make those changes wake up in the morning and do something worth while, close each night knowing you made a difference. Never let your knees tire of bending and asking for the help you need, ask Him to guide you to those who need help.