This I Believe

December 13, 2007
By Ethan Darby, Keene, KY

“Let a smile be an umbrella on a rainy day.” Don’t let bad things stop you from being happy. My great grand aunt taught me at a young age that if you’re sad or angry about something you should smile. It helps put you in a better mood and helps you get through unpleasant circumstances. I believe that if you don’t feel like smiling you should smile ‘till you do.
I saw the power of this adage very recently. One of my close friends was in a nasty mood due to a series of horrible and unpleasant events. I tried absolutely everything I could think of to cheer my friend up, but to no avail. Actually, if anything it put them in a worse mood. My last resort was none other than the smile technique. It consists of smiling at your friend until they can’t help but smile back. It worked! Not only did they smile back, but they were in an overall better mood the rest of the day.
Smiling can also get you through the hardest good byes. In July of this past year my best friend in the world moved to the far away state of New Mexico. Saying good bye was very tough. In the past 3 years he had lived in Kentucky we had probably slept over at each other’s house close to 100 times. The last week we had to spend with each other was during a Boy Scout of America overnight camp.
As the week came to a close we realized we would both have to say good-bye very soon. The last night came and good-bye was soon to follow. I was able to advance into a higher level of scouting that night and took a vow of silence. Bad timing! You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to say good-bye to your best friend, especially when you’re not aloud to talk. My priorities were straitened out quick, fast, and in a hurry. I broke my vow and…well…talked. The last 15 minutes we spent talking about the good times we had had. Finally we said good-bye. As his family drove away, and my family did the same, it really hit me. He was gone. Being sad wouldn’t bring him back so the only thing I could do was smile and remember all the fun things we did. Comfort came quicker than expected I found myself not mourning the loss of a close friend, but happy that I had one.
“Smiling is the best antidote for sadness.” Aunt Elsa would always say. Over the years I have grown very close to my 98-year old great grand aunt. Elsa, my great aunt, had always been a happy person. In fact, in the past 13 years I have known her, I don’t think she has ever frowned. In Aunt Elsa’s advancing age she became very ill. Last year in about the middle of November, my great aunt Elsa passed away. This hit me like a ton of bricks. I was extremely sad. I remember how she would always comfort me when I was younger with her smiling face. So what else could I do, but smile as I remembered her?
I truly believe the best way to overcome hard times is just to grin and bare it. There is no reason why bad things should keep you from being happy. Its really not too complicated. All it takes is a smile.

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