The magic of a smile

Smile, a five-letter word that has the potential to bring about joy to even the most barren of faces, from the young to the old.

Have you truly appreciated the beauty of a smile? The joy of seeing someone light up and relish in the beauty of contentment.

What does it mean when the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward?

It is the joy of elation and the dream of hope, enveloping your body with a sense of glee like the smile of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

The magic of the Mona Lisa’s smile is that it seems to react to our gaze.

What is she thinking? She smiles back mysteriously. Look again. Her smile seems to flicker.

We glance away, and the enigmatic smile lingers in our minds, as it does in the collective mind of humanity.

This is exactly how my family and I felt on a warm Tuesday afternoon, just after the New Year’s Day.

While the hopes of a better year for myself and my family and South Africans started somewhat sombre with load shedding and other issues plaguing the country, we did not let that crush our hopes and decided to make a fantastic start.

The one thing that has become a habit of mine is saving, or trying to put a portion of our salaries away for that moment when digging your hands into the sofas is not going to reap more than small change for that unexpected emergency.

With savings comes interest generated on the accumulated sum and while many would welcome the growing money tree, we cannot touch it and you may be wondering why.

You see, Muslims are not allowed to consume interest money (a story for another day) and it should be given away without expecting any reward in return. It seems harsh, but interest is just that, to be given away because it cannot be used by those of the Islamic faith.

And that is what we did on that warm and bright sunny day, handing out the money that had accrued in our accounts while driving in Lenasia South.

We did not look for anyone in particular to hand out the cash to, but just whoever we saw while driving by.

At one point on our way home, we saw two little kids walking along the sidewalk and stopped. My wife gave our children the money to hand over to the boys who were barely eight years old.

You could see that they had joyfulness, walking merrily along back to their homes.

What happened next was just the most ecstatic moment we as a family had experienced.

These humble words will never describe what we experienced and felt, but I will try and share the sense of joy that chorused our veins, a feeling that is rare and comes along only once in a while.   

After receiving the money, the two boys were first amused by what we were doing. Wondering if we were crazy handing out money to passers-by, probably thinking what’s the catch. There was none, but they did not know that.

Then it happened, they exploded with colours of the rainbow, with floating screams, enveloped with joy and happiness, running around in circles at the gesture.

We just sat there and watched them for a moment to enjoy the happiness before they walked away still singing and dancing as they slowly disappeared along the road.

However, that is not what captured our hearts, more so my children’s hearts. It was the two boys’ smile and joy, that lit up the moment and filled the air with hope and warmth.

At that precious moment, my five-year-old son brought tears to my wife and I when he uttered the words that many find so hard to say.

“Daddy, it’s so nice to see the two boys smile. We should do this more often.”

The little brat, as I call him, was mature for his age, but even as young as he was, he understood how happy the little boys were.

Children ooze love, happiness and joy and they have the potential to melt hearts.

My wife and I were consumed with emotion, our eyes filled with tears. We so wished we could do more and make more people happy and smile.

Both my sons insisted that we drive to the informal settlement around the corner to make more people happy, but there is just so much one family can do.

Please don’t get the wrong end of the stick, we are not looking for praise, recognition or a pat on the back. This story is just to inspire others and show that one small act of kindness has the potential to propel any person to a giant stride in happiness.

There are so many people, possibly millions, that are facing daily challenges, but sadly they are on the different end of the scale to affluent families, sometimes not of their own fault.

The miracle of life is everybody has the potential to make a difference, all you have to do is find that inspiration and motivation you bottled up and open it. Let is flow and you will feel and see the bliss. 

We need many more miracles in this country to make a better life for all South Africans.

If each person can do his bit, we can make this beautiful country of ours brighter.

While you may not have money to dish out to the less fortunate, it does not cost you anything to smile, because with just a few facial muscles, you can make someone’s day and for me that is priceless.

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