Smiles. The window into someone’s life. The doorway into a person’s happiness. A snapshot. A snippet. A moment. These are the moments we glance over most often. Forget. Disregard. For one little girl in Thailand, these moments are all she has. This little girl skips. She runs down the street. She watches eagerly. She helps pass the pails. She wears a yellow shirt. And a red skirt. For now, she has no name. To us, she is the girl who smiles. Her situation doesn’t faze her. It doesn’t envelop her. It strengthens her. She is able to find so much in so little. The positive in the negative. Beauty in rubble. Peace in discord. When I look at her, I cannot help but smile myself. I can not help but cry. Not because I feel shame for my “privilege”. Not because I feel like I am not doing enough. Like I’m not being enough. Like I’m not enough. Because I am enough. She is enough. We are all enough. We don’t have to be anything more than we are.
As Theodore Roosevelt says in his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…
No one is in the arena with you. So fight on. And smile.